Skip to main content

Tergat Arrives in Japan 'Praying For Good Luck'

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Tergats arrive in Japan on Feb. 25.

Members of the invited foreign field for the Mar. 1 Biwako Mainichi Marathon began to arrive in Otsu's Biwako Hotel on Feb. 24 as race day draws near. The athletes' area at the hotel takes up two convention rooms on the hotel's third floor, with six interpreters speaking English, Spanish, French, Italian and Russian on hand to assist with the athletes' communication. The rooms face onto Lake Biwa and are well-stocked with sports drinks, bananas and oranges, offering a comfortable environment in which the runners can relax.

Taking 27 hours to arrive in Otsu from his home in Eritrea after a delayed flight, Yared Asmerom (29) told reporters, "I ran here last year, so I know it's a good course. I'll be going for a new PB."

Former world record holder Paul Tergat (29, Kenya) arrived at Kansai International Airport with his wife Monica on Feb. 25. After departing Nairobi the couple changed planes in Dubai before arriving. "Japan is very far," Tergat commented. The trip took 20 hours altogether, but Tergat spent much of the time talking with other athletes who came on the same flight, never losing his smile.

Tergat has run track races and half marathons in Japan before but this will be his first time running in a Japanese marathon. "I feel very, very happy to have the opportunity to run a marathon in Japan," he said. "The Biwako course is fantastic and I will give it my best effort. I'm praying for good luck on Sunday."

Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05 when he ran a then-world record of 2:04:55 at the 2003 Berlin Marathon. In 2007 Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) broke Tergat's mark, but the Kenyan remains the second-fastest man ever.


Most-Read This Week

Tokyo Marathon Cancels Mass Participation Race, To Go Ahead as Elite-Only Event (updated)

Update: The Mar. 8 Nagoya Women's Marathon, the world's largest women-only marathon, is now also looking at canceling its mass-participation division.

In response to the spread of the coronavirus within Japan, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation has decided to cancel the Mar. 1 Tokyo Marathon's 38,000-runner mass-participation race. Founded in 2007, the Tokyo Marathon is Japan's largest mass-participation marathon, with more than a million spectators along its course every year. A men's Olympic marathon team selection race, this year's Tokyo Marathon will be an unusual spectacle with only 200 elite runners including national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike) and previous record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda).

The Tokyo Marathon Foundation is also looking at significantly cutting back the activities of the 11,000 volunteers involved in the event's operations. On Feb. 1 the Foundation already asked roughly 1,800 participants living in China to refrain from taking part…

Tokyo Marathon Looking at Cutting General Division in Response to Coronavirus (updated)

Update: The Tokyo Marathon's mass-participation race has been canceled. More information here.

It has been learned that the Tokyo Marathon Foundation is considering cutting back on the number of runners in the Mar. 1 Tokyo Marathon in response to the continued spread of the coronavirus. According to a spokesperson, the Foundation is said to be considering options including reducing the number of participants and completely canceling the mass participation race.

The Tokyo Marathon has the largest number of participants of any marathon in Japan, with around 40,000 people entered for this year's race. As an Olympic selection race for men, the elite field in Tokyo this year includes national record holder Suguru Osako and previous national record holder Yuta Shitara.

The Foundation and metropolitan government had previously announced plans to distribute masks to runners who wished to use them. But in light of the continued spread of the coronavirus after that announcement, discuss…

Nagoya Women's Marathon Considering Canceling Mass Participation Race

In the wake of the Tokyo Marathon's cancelation of its mass-participation race, on Feb. 17 it was learned that the Mar. 8 Nagoya Women's Marathon, which like Tokyo features a format combining an elite selection race for the 2020 Olympic team with a mass-participation race, is examining whether it will be possible to still stage the mass-participation component of its event.

Following the Tokyo Marathon's announcement earlier in the day that it was canceling its mass-participation race over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Nagoya's organizers were inundated with inquiries from the media and amateur runners entered in the race. The organizers say that they hope to reach a decision and make an announcement as soon as possible.

The largest women-only marathon in the world, as of Feb. 13 Nagoya has 24,002 entrants total this year, 137 in its elite division and 23,865 in its general division. Along with Nagoya, organizers are also examining the feasibility of s…