translated and edited by Brett Larner
Following the success of the Tokyo Marathon, Japan's first mass-participation full marathon to run through the streets of one of its major cities, Osaka announced last year that it plans to begin hosting a similar large-scale marathon. Like Tokyo, Osaka has indicated that its marathon will come at the expense of existing events. Two other cities have now gotten on board the big marathon boom, namely Kyoto and Kobe.
Kyoto will begin hosting a major international marathon in 2011 with a course designed to take in many of the city's most famous cultural and World Heritage sites. With the final running of the Kyoto City Half Marathon now in the past, the city will spend the next two years working together with the prefectural police department to deal with traffic control and other issues.
The city of Kyoto contributed roughly $580,000 U.S. to the operating budget of the Kyoto City Half Marathon, with the remained of the event's operating costs coming from sponsors. In view of current economic and political troubles the municipal government decided that it could not justify continuing to hold the existing half marathon as it pursued the creation of a strong new marathon.
In addition to the full marathon, Kyoto plans to include half marathon and 10 km events as part of its new race. A member of the city government's planning committee commented, "It will probably be outside the peak spring and fall tourist seasons, and we have to be careful not to conflict with marathons held by our neighbors Osaka or elsewhere."
Nearby Kobe is also investigating the idea of hosting a large-scale civic marathon. Committees in the Kobe municipal and Hyogo prefectural governments with budgets of $50,000 each have been organized to assess the feasibility of such an event and to research the relevant issues. Proposals for the race's route include a start at the Hanshin Tigers' Koshien Stadium, a section passing through the city's Sannomiya Shuhen skyscraper district and one crossing the Akashi Kaikyo bridge between the city of Kobe and Awajishima island.
Like Kyoto, the Kobe committees are also strongly considering road closure, detour, and traffic control issues as they plan the event's course and facilities. In addition to restrictions placed by the Hyogo Prefectural Police Department, the planning committees must take into account Rikuren's requirement that the start and finish of the marathon course have a total elevation loss of less than 42 m. It is estimated that after the course study and a symposium to examine the impact of the Tokyo Marathon upon the city of Tokyo, it will take up to seven years for the Kobe Marathon to get underway.