As if a marathons weren’t grueling enough…here come the hornets!
On 11 September, the 18th annual Mountain Village Daikon Marathon was held in Hida, Gifu. This half marathon through a mountain course is meant to bring the community together, and this year saw 697 runners take part in the 3-, 5-, and 10-kilometer courses.
However, partway through this year’s Daikon Marathon, disaster struck in the form of a swarm of angry yellow hornets which descended on the runners and stung at them mercilessly. Roughly one in six runners were stung, totaling 115 injured. Luckily, medical staff at the scene said that no one was seriously hurt.
Also, in a testament to the spirit of the Daikon runners, less than 40 of them dropped out of the race due to the hornet attack. It is unclear whether those runners received their complementary local vegetables, which are awarded to those who finish.
A subsequent investigation found that the hornet attack occurred near a bridge by one of the course’s bends. Underneath the bridge was a “soccer-ball-sized nest” full of the easily agitated bugs. It is believed that the vibrations from multiple runners going over the bridge upset the insects greatly sending them on the offensive. Prior to the race no one had any problems with hornets nor did anyone even notice the nest.
The organizers apologized, saying that they would be more careful in the future and perform a more thorough check of the course beforehand.
Despite these unfortunate human-hornet altercations that occur from time to time, let us not forget all the good that these animals bring to the world like…uh…hmm. Giving us nightmares?