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Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Expecting Fast Times on New Course

http://mainichi.jp/area/oita/news/20091113ddlk44050489000c.html

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

The office-opening ceremonies for the 59th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon next Feb. 7 took place Nov. 12 at the Oita Civic Track and Field Grounds. Organizing committee assistant director Toshio Hamamoto, the head of the Oita Athletics Association, hung the race organization's sign on the entrance to the Oita Grounds' facilities to signify that next year's race is now open.

The first committee meeting came immediately after the opening ceremony. In his welcoming comments Hamamoto told committee members, "We are making the first major course change in 26 years. We hope the change will attract many talented runners and help them to set fast new times. Please give us your help and support to ensure the success of this event."

The new course starts in front of the Umitamago attraction in Oita and travels north along route 10 before turning back at Kamegawa Bypass in Beppu and heading to a finish at the Oita Civic Track and Field Grounds. Athletes can expect a tailwind for 60% of the course and will be running through the center of Oita city during the second of the race, meaning great crowd support along the roads. The nation's marathoners are eagerly anticipating the new course. For more information, contact the race office at 097-558-1999.

Translator's note: Click here for a map of the new course. The actual roads covered on the new course are almost identical to the old one, but rather than a single out-and-back the new version starts in the middle and breaks it into two sections. It pits runners against the area's famous winds in the first 10 km rather than near halfway as on the old course. The stadium finish has not changed.

Beppu-Oita is rumored to be bringing in a very special guest to help set a fast record on the new course.

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