translated by Brett Larner
Click to enlarge course map.
On Dec. 9 the new course for the Feb. 20 Yokohama International Women's Marathon was announced. The course for last year's first edition featured three loops of a 13.2 km course through the heart of Yokohama, but while the new version shares the same start and finish at Yamashita Park it will consist of two large loops, the first an out-an-back to JR Shin-Sugita Station and the second around the Minato Mirai district.
Last year's course required the roads in downtown Yokohama to be closed for three hours. The police department was unhappy with the situation, saying it created potential problems for the fire department and ambulances in the event of an emergency. As a result, organizers looked into designing a new course.
In meeting the demands, organizers sought to create a flatter course at the same time. The previous course had an elevation variation of 13 m, whereas the new course has only 7 m difference between its highest and lowest points. With regard to the new course, Rikuren Director of Women's Marathoning Yutaka Taketomi (Team Tenmaya head coach) commented, "With a flatter elevation profile and fewer curves than the old course I think Yokohama is going to be easier to run. In my opinion the strongest point of the new course is that the runners will face the usual prevailing winds during the first 13 km when the race is most likely to be relatively relaxed. I think that's going to lead to a very interesting race."
Yokohama will be the second of the three major domestic selection races for the Japanese women's marathon team for next summer's World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.