Skip to main content

Biwako Mainichi Marathon Becomes Japan's First IAAF Gold Label Race

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/news/20090110k0000m050038000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

On Jan. 9 the IAAF announced that it has granted the Mar. 1 Biwako Mainichi Marathon (Lake Biwa Marathon) its gold label, making the elite event Japan's first race to receive the international authority's highest ranking. The IAAF upgraded Biwako's status after reviewing last year's events based on field size, elite field, organization and other criteria.

The IAAF's label program began last year, with big-city marathons such as Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York receiving top rankings. Japan's famous races were highly ranked on organizational ability but did not reach the top tier due to problems including the makeup of their elite fields and the lack of international broadcast. This month's Osaka International Women's Marathon, last month's Fukuoka International Marathon and other elite races remain as silver label events due to these issues.

Having begun two years ago as Japan's first big-city marathon and this year adding elite prize money and an elite women's field in its third running, the Tokyo Marathon remains as a silver label event. An IAAF official explained the group's rationale for this ranking, saying, "Last year there were no elite women, only an elite men's field."

Translator's note: Based on my understanding of the IAAF's ranking criteria and on what the article says about Osaka, Fukuoka and Tokyo receiving silver rankings again, this decision is extremely surprising. Biwako is a small, elite men-only race just like Fukuoka. Even if it were secretly following Tokyo and adding an elite women's field and an international broadcast this year it did not meet those criteria last year. Biwako is losing its main sponsor, Rohm, after this year's running; together with Rikuren's recent relaxation of rules regarding race sponsorship could this new ranking reflect an attempt to make Biwako more attractive to a sponsor which might be in a position to save the historic race?

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

Fresh off a 1:00:17 half marathon national record last weekend and a 28:55 road 10 km the one before, Yuta Shitara (Honda) lived up to expectations at today's Berlin Marathon, trying to go with the lead group and running the first part of the race alone between the first and second groups.

Whatever his plan, Shitara was swallowed up by the second pack, a good turn of events as it was travelling ahead of Japanese national record pace on track for just sub-2:06. Shitara hung with that group through 25 km before his projected time started to creep away, drifting to high-2:06 pace by 30 km, high-2:07 by 35 km, and high-2:08 by 40 km. In the end he was well short of Toshinari Takaoka's 2:06:16 national record, but with a 2:09:03 for 6th Shitara took 24 seconds off his best with the fastest Japanese men's performance in Berlin since Takayuki Inubushi's then-NR 2:06:57 in 1999. And just 8 days after the greatest half marathon performance in Japanese history.

『ベルリンマラソン動画 設楽悠太…

New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden.…

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…