translated by Brett Larner
The leadup to the Feb. 28 Tokyo Marathon kicked off Feb. 25 with the official opening of the Tokyo Marathon Expo 2010 at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center. Along with the bib number pickup center for those running Sunday's race, 96 companies and organization are represented at the expo, which will continue through Feb. 27.
Presiding over the opening ceremonies at 9:45 were Tokyo mayor Shintaro Ishihara and Mexico City Olympics marathon silver medalist Kenji Kimihara. During his opening remarks Ishihara brought up the example of comedian Kunihiro Matsumura, who suffered a heart attack while trying to run last year's Tokyo Marathon, as he urged runners, "Take it easy out there." Going on, Ishihara commented, "Through negotiations with the police we have been able to increase the field size this year from 30000 to 35000, but even so the applications this year were 10 times that number. People have come to recognize the good feeling of accomplishment you get from running. Even everyone who finishes just under the cutoff time can share in that feeling of accomplishment. This is the time when we are truly all one."
Among the first group of people to enter the expo was Niigata University student Konomi Miyamura, 19, who came down from Niigata to run her first marathon at Tokyo. "When I saw Big Sight I started to get really excited because I could feel that this is really going to happen!" she said as she picked up her bib number. "This is my first experience with the marathon so my goal is to make it all the way to the finish."