Every Spring a marathon runner from Berkeley travels to Sakai to run in the Senshu Marathon.
The 26th KIX Senshu International Marathon was held February 17, 2019. Rachel Valenzuela was the representative runner from Berkeley. This was a repeat experience for her, as she ran in the 2017 marathon also. Rachel works out of the Elmwood fire station with the Berkeley Fire Department as an apparatus operator. She is also trained as a medic. In her spare time, she is busy caring for and raising four children. She was very excited to see all her Sakai friends once again.
The guest runner for 2020 from Berkeley was going to be Talia Stewart. Unfortunately, about 2 weeks before the marathon, Talia had to cancel. Talia works as an Accounting Office Specialist in the Finance Department of the City of Berkeley. She is married and has two sons, 4 and 5 years old. Talia was active in track and field in school and has a special interest in art. She is a strong runner and is very excited about running a marathon in Sakai. She is visiting Japan with her husband for the first time. They will also planning to visit Tokyo and the Olympic Stadium during their trip.
The Senshu International City Marathon was started in September 1994 by Sakai City and nine other cities and four towns in Osaka Prefecture to commemorate the opening of the Kansai International Airport. (KIX). Besides Berkeley, Sakai has 3 other sister cities (Wellington, the capital of New Zealand; Lianyungang in Jiangsu Province, China; and just recently Danang City, Vietnam) who also have runners participating in the marathon.
The 27th KIX Senshu International Marathon took place on Sunday, February 16, 2020.
1994 Ruth Grimes, City Planner, City of Berkeley Fire Dept.
1995 Mike Palmer
1996 No runner from Berkeley
1997 Jim Keene, City Manager, City of Berkeley
1998 Lillian Mitchell, Architect, Berkeley
1999 Chris Randall, Clif Bar, Inc., Berkeley
2000 Michael Caplan, Downtown Coordinator, Office of Economic Development, City of Berkeley (position changed to Community Liaison)
2001 Mickye Adams, M. D., Obstetrician, Alta Bates Hospital
2002 Laura Allen, Senior Management Analyst, City of Berkeley
2003 Jonathan Mayer, 5th Grade Teacher, Le Conte Elementary School, Berkeley
2004 Deborah Busler, Social Worker, Alameda County Social Services Department
2005 Awilda Logan, LeConte Elementary School teacher
2006 Tracy Vesely, City of Berkeley Budget Manager
2007 Corey Creasey, Adidas Transports Running Club
2008 Jessica Nichole Handcock, UCB Student/Lake Merritt Joggers & Striders
2009 Tim Kaplan, City of Berkeley Police Officer
2010 Skyler Ramey, City of Berkeley Police Officer
2011 David Allen Vass, 911 Dispatcher, Berkeley Police Dept.
2012 Steve Rego, Project Manager, Public Safety Technology
System, Berkeley Police Department
2013 Douglas Royer, Software Engineer
Alfonso Munoz, Berkeley City Firefighter
2014 Michael Dragovich, Berkeley City Firefighter/Medic
2015 Tim MacIsaac, Berkeley City Firefighter/Captain
2016 David Gabriner, Berkeley City Firefighter/Apparatus Operator
2017 Rachel Valenzuela, Berkeley City Firefighter
2018 Tom Bowring, Berkeley City Firefighter/Paramedic
2019 Rachel Valenzuela, Berkeley City Firefighter (Rachel decided she could not go)
2020 Senshu-Marathon cancelled due to Covid-19
2021 Senshi-Marathon cancelled due to Covid-19
This year's Senshu International City Marathon runner was Tom Bowring, a firefighter and paramedic with the City of Berkeley Fire Department. Originally from Australia, Tom has been with the fire department two years. He and his wife, Nazarena Sadati, have a great love of travel and really appreciated this opportunity to visit Sakai. Their stay in Sakai was for 7 days, from February 16 to February 22, 2018. They had a 3 night home stay with Yaeko & Tomoshige Hirota, who have been great supporters of our sister city friendship and have hosted many of our marathon runners and goodwill visitors. The invited runner was given a tour of the marathon course on Saturday and attended a Welcome Reception in the evening. The marathon took place on Sunday, February 18. The visit included a Courtesy Visit to Mayor Takeyama, a visit to a local elementary school, and sightseeing in Sakai with a host family. Airfare to and from Japan and expenses while in Sakai were provided by the Sakai City marathon committee.
Berkeley’s guest runner for the 24th Senshu International City Marathon was Rachel Valenzuela. She is a medic/firefighter with the Berkeley Fire Department. Rachel is 34 years old, married and has four kids!! She is a very busy lady! Her husband, Stephen Morgan (who is also a Berkeley firefighter), accompanied her to Sakai for the marathon. Rachel and Stephen were in Sakai for a total of 7 days (February 17-23) with the race held on Sunday, February 19. Besides running the marathon, they visited Mayor Takeyama and a local elementary school and were hosted by a Sakai family. After their stay in Sakai, they visited other parts of Japan before returning home.