Do you want to run around this historic Japanese castle?

Bellingham has received an invitation from our sister city Tateyama in Chiba, Japan to send three runners to participate in the 2024 Wakashio Marathon on January 28. We already have two runners signed up and are looking for a third.  Are you interested in a full or half marathon or perhaps just a 10K run? If you are, dash an email off right now to Sylvia Ricci at but no later than November 10, 2023. You pay airfare and you can travel on your own before or after.

The home stay experience itself is priceless which includes lodging, meals and transport. After pickup at Narita Airport, you get set up with a host family for your five-day stay in Tateyama. Sylvia Ricci wrote, “Midori and her sister Chieko were host moms for my partner Marc and me in 2020. They gave us an incredible experience and we are forever grateful to them. We got in on cooking up some takoyaki (octopus) dumplings and ate like royalty.” (Photo on left below.)

In the right photo we are experiencing an ochakai tea ceremony within the Tateyama castle grounds.

Along with fulfilling your personal running goals, you will also have abundant opportunities to learn more about the Japanese community and culture. Equally important, you will have the chance to serve as a Citizen Diplomat representing Bellingham to advance international friendship and understanding. Chances are you will pick up some new friends along the way as well.

If this is something you are interested in, have questions about, and want the application, contact us at Please include your full name, email, phone, and a compelling paragraph about why you want to go and be a great representative of Bellingham and our Sister Cities program.

The Bellingham Sister Cities Association is a community-based organization providing opportunities for local residents to develop relationships and build a sense of community with the people of the world. The BSCA achieves this by promoting “person-to-person” activities between cities around the world. The purpose is to bring intercultural understandings, economic and tourism ties, and ultimately, world peace.

By way of background, Tateyama is a port city in Japan similar to Bellingham. The Wakashio Marathon has been held for 43 years with 2024 making it the 44th year. Our Sister Cities relationship goes back all the way to 1958!