Culver City Observer -

Culver City Marathon Runners Set Personal Records at Marathon Exchange in Japan


Representing the Culver City Sister City Committee (CCSCC) at the annual marathon exchange with our Japan Sister City, Kaizuka, Ricardo Galiano and Erin Okawa both set personal records in the challenging 26th Annual Senshu Marathon in Osaka, Japan. Mr. Galiano sped across the finish line in 3 hours and 21 minutes, at a pace of 7:42 minutes per mile. Erin, suffering from a hip injury, was close behind with a personal best 3 hours and 24 minutes. Each runner shattered their personal records by over five minutes, despite two large bridges which had to be traversed twice after mile 20. Mr. Galiano's comments one the race course itself, "This race tested me in ways I had never been tested before. Climbing those two monster bridges, twice, at the end of the race required every bit of ounce of energy and determination I had left."

Mr. Galiano and Ms. Okawa were representing CCSCC as part of the exchange. During the seven day visit to Kaizuka, Ricardo and Erin were hosted with the highest level of hospitality with City tours and home-stays. Tours included meeting the Kaizuka City Council, and dinner with Kaizuka Mayor Tatsuo Fujihara Ricardo and Erin were shown cultural highlights in the area including Nara, famous for its friendly deer and Kyoto, with its gorgeous landscape and shrines. "This trip was nothing short of extraordinary. The city of Kaizuka and its people's hospitality, kindness, and attention to detail was truly amazing. I will cherish this experience for the rest of my life," said Ricardo. Erin similarly recounted, "The country is so beautiful, and the people so kind. I had a wonderful time, and memories for a lifetime." As part of the pageantry of the marathon, a banquet was held the night before the marathon to encourage all the visiting marathon runners from other sister cities around the world who were invited by neighboring cities of Kaizuka. Erin, who was born in Japan and moved to America when she was four, was asked to give the "Runner's Speech." She spoke about carrying on the legacy started by her grandmother, who was a competitive runner in Japan, and thanked the many people involved in organizing the event and this exchange. The exchange is sponsored in Japan by the Kaizuka International Friendship Association (KAIFA) which works closely with CCSCC and Culver City's El Marino Elementary School and Japanese Language Magnet Programs.

Ricardo and Erin will be able to return the hospitality, as they host two Kaizuka runners for the upcoming LA Marathon on March 24th. CCSCC will be hosting several meet-and-greet events with the Japanese runners. Please visit the CCSCC Facebook page, their website at and the Culver City Observer for upcoming announcements.


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