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Japanese comedian sails and runs a circumnavigation

by Sail-World Cruising Round-up on 22 Jan 2011
Kanpei Hazama has finished his circumnavigation - he sailed the seas and ran the continents SW
A Japanese comedian and distance runner has completed what he called his 'Earth Marathon' by sailing across the oceans and running across the continents in an adventure which has taken him over two years.

Kanpei Hazama, 61, sailed into the port Yokohama and then took 17 days to run to Osaka Castle Park in western Japan, where he began his earth odyssey, joking 'I'm fed up with running' (He didn't mention sailing).

Thousands of well-wishers lined the final stages of his earthathon, greeting the popular television personality as he crossed the 'finishing line'.

Hazama started his journey by sailing across the Pacific, then he ran across America, sailed across the Atlantic, then ran across Europe and Asia into China, completing the journey with a final sailing voyage to Japan. While he had been a distance runner, he admits he didn't know much about sailing. So he began preparing for his journey by 'entering a yachting school to study yachting pretty seriously.'

The journey wasn't all clear sailing (or running) however. In Turkey he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, and had to interrupt his journey for a trip back to the United States for medical treatment. He then returned to Turkey to continue his quest.

On his arrival home, he described the time when he was diagnosed in Turkey. 'I was afraid I might have to give up my project. It was the hardest moment, both physically and emotionally,' he recalls.

His wife Mitsuyo visited Hazama immediately to support him.

'I was depressed and had been staying in my room for three days, but I felt so much better when I saw my wife's face. She would always create a cheerful atmosphere whenever I had problems at work, saying, 'Everything will work out,' Hazama said.

On his run back to Osaka, a lot of people -- from children to the elderly -- cheered him on the streets.

'Elderly people come to touch me, saying they want to recharge themselves by doing so. I know I don't have such a power, but let them touch me as much as they want.'
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