Comedian Kampei Hazama, 63 years old, began a nine-day marathon on Monday with the intention of bringing a smile to the residents of Japan’s north-eastern area, hardest hit by last year’s quake and tsunami.
About 100 people were present to cheer for Hazama when he warmed up for the 440-kilometer journey.
“I will run to bring back smiles to your faces, so root for me,” he said.
Hazama said he wanted the public to keep the victims of last year’s disaster in their hearts by raising awareness, Kyodo reported.
The comedian is known for having participated in other difficult sporting events. Last year, he completed a 25-month run-and-sail marathon around the world.