I ran 42km for a 'free' Tiffany necklace

And I said, what about a necklace from Tiffany's? She said, I think I, remember I've bills and as I recall, I said you can run 42km for it, and what she said, can't be repeated in print! 

After that brief musical interlude (anyone else remember Deep Blue Something?), it's true - you can run 42km, that's 26.2 miles, to get a 'free' Tiffany necklace. Yes, I ran a marathon for jewellery and if you think that sounds ridiculous, I understand - but let me explain.

There's a marathon in the city of Nagoya, Japan, where the medal for completion isn't just a bit of tin, it's a sterling silver necklace from luxury brand Tiffany's. It's a women-only marathon, called the Nagoya Women's Marathon, and it's been running (pardon the pun) in some form since 1980. The first Tiffany necklace for finishers was given out in 2012, and every year since with a slightly different design each time.

In 2018, there were 3,000 places for runners from overseas, out of a total number of 21,915 runners - the majority of places are reserved for Japanese women or invited runners. Anyone can enter the ballot (like the London Marathon, getting a place is a bit of a lottery), and the 2018 event was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest all-female marathon event. 

Is it even possible to run that far? (aka "OMG, I'm not an elite athlete")

The cut-off this year was seven hours and one minute, the extra minute to allow for a 60-second silence to remember those lost in the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011.

A seven-hour time limit is very achievable for most people (including me) who aren't elite athletes. What's more, fancy dress is allowed and encouraged, as long as it isn't dangerous, and I ran alongside a crowd of Pikachu Pokémon (a particularly uplifting sight after 25km). 

Why would anyone run that far?

For a 'free' necklace, of course! The cheapest sterling silver necklace without a pendant is £50 plus £5 delivery on the Tiffany website, and the cheapest necklace plus a pendant similar to the one I got 'free' is £120.

The cost of entering the marathon this year was 12,000 yen which is about £82 - so I saved at least £38 by running 43km (that's how far my Garmin reckons I ran). By the way, I'm not counting the 12,000 miles I travelled getting to and from Japan, because I was already going there on holiday. For comparison, a ballot place in the London Marathon is £39 for UK runners or £80 for overseas participants.

That's not all, though, in addition to the necklace, I also picked up a delightful array of lower-value freebies at the end of the marathon, as well as the marathon expo - which is like a festival the day before the marathon.

These freebies included:

My favourite part of the run - free bananas

  • A large packet of spaghetti (carbs for life!), norm about 300 yen (£2ish)
  • Nagoya Women's Marathon towel, norm about 500 yen for similar (£3.40ish)
  • Nagoya Women's Marathon finishers technical t-shirt, norm about 3,500 yen (£24ish)
  • Menard Japanese skincare set, similar sets are £50 on eBay
  • Menard 'Beauness spa shower' facial spray, similar sizes are £20 on eBay
  • Sachet of protein powder, norm about 100 yen (70p-ish)
  • Kinesiology tape, norm about 100 yen (70p-ish)
  • 3-4 bananas, norm about 100 yen each (£2ish)

That's a total haul of about £100. So, to go over the maths again, I paid £82 to enter the marathon on a holiday I was already going on and got £220-worth of goods. Doesn't sound so ridiculous now, does it?

What's the most extreme thing you've done to save money? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter, or Facebook.