Skip to main content

Marathons Maxing Out - Tokyo Expects Applications 10x Field Limit

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20100802-OYT1T00642.htm?from=main3

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The mass marathon boom is overheating. Races everywhere are selling out within a matter of hours. Tokyo's "Runner's Paradise," the Imperial Palace loop, is packed solid with runners even at the peak of summer heat. On Aug. 1 the spark that set off the wildfire, the Tokyo Marathon, opened applications for next year's edition scheduled for Feb. 27. Applications exceeded the field size of 32,000 in less than 48 hours. Organizers expect to measure the total number of applicants in the hundreds of thousands.

The trend has spread to other races. The Nov. 28 Tsukuba Marathon, with a field limit of 12,000, sold out in 13 hours. Last year's race took 3 days to reach the limit. The 8,000-limit Nagano Marathon this past April 18 sold out in 5 and 1/2 hours. The Teganuma Eco Half-Marathon on Oct. 31 filled all 7,000 spots in 8 hours 20 minutes after taking 2 days last year, another signal that things are out of control. With the trend for more and more people to apply the moment applications open, online entry services have had difficulty keeping up and have experienced frequent crashes.

Masanori Onobu of RB's Inc., publishers of the monthly magazine Runners, said, "Five years ago it wasn't like this. Races didn't have field limits and if you applied you got to run. In the last few years the numbers have grown so quickly that a lot of races have had shortages of toilets and drinks. The Tokyo Marathon has been so heavily promoted in the media that its influence is everywhere. Since Tokyo started in 2007 all the other races have grown as well, and a cycle has started where people who get shut out of a race one year apply more quickly the next, causing the situation to escalate each year. Things are to the point that we can expect to see other races start having an entry lottery like Tokyo's."

According to research by Runners magazine, in 2004 the nationwide number of people who ran a full marathon at least once was 78,776. In 2009 the number had more than doubled to 166,794, while according to organizers 226,378 people applied for the 30,000 spots available in the 2009 Tokyo Marathon.

This year Tokyo applications were up to 272,134, over 8 and 1/2 times the number of spots available. 40% of applicants had never run a full marathon before. Truly, the Tokyo Marathon is the cause of the nation's running boom. Applications for this year's race are open from Aug. 1 to 31. With entries increasing year by year in the 4 runnings to date organizers expect at least 10 times the field limit of 32,000 to apply.

From 2007 to 2010 the Tokyo Marathon was operated as a joint enterprise between the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Rikuren, the Japanese national athletics federation. On June 30 control of the event was passed to a new, independent Tokyo Marathon Foundation. Foundation executive Hiroaki Chosa commented, "If we are to become the world's number one marathon we must do more to attract foreign entrants."

Comments

zbsports said…
I think this is a great long run...I love marathon and running event I chase every story about it...
Tokyo Marathon is a history and create lot of history...I wish can run in this kind of event someday...:D
Lisa Staples said…
I applied the moment they opened for registration! Hope I make the cut! I'm soo excited. This will be my first Marathon!

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…