Team RICKA is in charge of the maintenance of the trail spanning over 100 km within the Yamanashi area of the Mt.FUJI100 racecourse. We hate to jump on the phrase "as it is" and letting runners run on poorly maintained trails. So we gather like-minded people and are diligently maintaining the trails to ensure they are in the best condition possible.
The Yamanashi area has been hosting several trail running events, including the Fuji Sanroku Trail Running Race and the Fujisan Genshirin Trail Running Race, which have been held prior to the start of the Mt.Fuji100. So our trail maintenance and clean-up activities have also been ongoing since 2007. Before the trail running races began, the trails were neglected and in poor condition. So our efforts focused on improving the condition by clearing fallen trees, mowing overgrown grass, constructing wooden steps, and repairing landslides. Our trail maintenance efforts go beyond the needs of trail running races. Our priority is maintaining safe trails so that hikers can fully enjoy their mountain hikes. In our trail maintenance work, we place special focus on caring for the sea of trees area. The forest trees grow in shallow soil, about 30 to 50 cm deep, on hard, thick lava. Because their roots cannot penetrate deep into the ground, many large trees topple during typhoons. This is why it is crucial to patrol trails after typhoons or heavy rains.
Team RICKA currently consist of 270 members. While some members possess professional skills in forestry, civil engineering, construction, scaffolding, and plumbing, many are individuals without specialized expertise relevant to trail maintenance. Individual members undertake various tasks in trail maintenance, with the Girls Gardening Team standing out as an especially active group every time we go out for trail maintenance. They grab pairs of gardening scissors and cut eye-piercing twigs and foot-scratching wild roses. They also keep clearing trails of dead branches and loose rocks scattered along the trail to the sides using their rakes and brooms with utmost dedication. We are committed to preserving the racecourse spanning over 100 km, ensuring its safety and beauty are maintained all year round.
Now that I have been working on trail maintenance with the members of Team RICKA for more than 15 years, trail maintenance has become the greatest joy of my life.