Skip to main content

Notification of the Termination of the Sapporo International Half Marathon

http://www.shsf.jp/half-marathon/55/

translated by Mika Tokairin and edited by Brett Larner

Having brought some of the world's best runners to race in Sapporo for the last 55 years, it has been decided that the 2012 edition of the Sapporo International Half Marathon will be its final running.

The Sapporo International Half Marathon, starting and finishing at Maruyama Field, passing through the streets of downtown Sapporo and Odori Park and turning around at Shiraishi in East Sapporo, is known to be a race that produces good times due both to its course and to favorable weather.  In recent years it has served as a selection race for the Japanese team at the World Half Marathon Championships.  At this year's 55th running on July 1st, a total of 323 runners including both men and women started the race, with a very high 98% finisher rate.

At the 43rd running in 2000, Naoko Takahashi won the women's race as a step toward her gold medal at the Sydney Olympics later that summer.  A year later in 2001 Mizuki Noguchi, who later won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, raced head-to-head against Sydney silver medalist Lidia Simon (Romania), losing by 5 seconds but gaining experience that was crucial toward her Olympic success.

It is very rare to hold a half-marathon in mid-summer in Japan, and in that sense it has been very meaningful to have this race in Sapporo.  However, when the four bodies involved in organizing the race met to discuss the future editions they came to the conclusion that its prospects, both financially and in terms of value to the media, were limited, and it was determined that the best course of action was to cease holding the race.  The proposal to discontinue the race was submitted to the Japanese Federation, one of its advisory bodies, who accepted the decision.

We would like to express our deep gratitude to all the organizations related to the race, including each o the sponsors, the Hokkaido Police Headquarters, the security companies and others.  We hope to continue to contribute to the development of athletics and sports in the future and ask for you continued support.

Translator's note: The Sapporo International Half Marathon was one of the world's greatest half marathon events, with course records of 1:08:14 by Mizuki Noguchi in 2006 and 59:54 by Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) in 2007.  Click here for a complete list of past winners.  In recent years its start time had been pushed back to mid-afternoon to meet the requirements of race broadcaster Nihon TV, and the sudden announcement of the race's termination suggests NTV's complete withdrawal of its support.

The termination of the race after 55 years follows the elimination of the elite field from Sapporo's Hokkaido Marathon this year.  Sapporo International now joins other elite half marathons including the Miyazaki Women's Half Marathon, Kobe Women's Half Marathon and Nagoya Half Marathon to disappear or be incorporated into large mass-participation events.

Comments

Brett Larner said…
Well this is a sad way to end the year.
Sports Channel said…
another great and informative article by Brett Larner, appreciated,

Most-Read This Week

Men's Marathon Rout - JAAF Executives Announce Resignation

http://www.nikkansports.com/olympic/rio2016/athletics/news/1698472.html

translated by Brett Larner

In the Rio de Janeiro Olympics men's marathon on Aug. 21, Satoru Sasaki (30) was the top Japanese man at 16th in 2:13:57.  Suehiro Ishikawa (36) was 36th, with Hisanori Kitajima (31) placing 94th.

At the end of athletics competition Japan's total was two medals and two top eight finishes, a total exceeding the JAAF's target one medal but falling short of its goal of five top eight finishes.  JAAF strengthening committee chairman Kazunori Asaba (55) announced that he intends to resign his position following the Rio Olympics.  Strengthening committee vice-chairman Katsumi Sakai (56) and director of men's marathoning Takeshi Soh (63) are also expected to join the exodus of resignations.  Japanese athletics will be forced to make a fresh start before the Tokyo Olympics.

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…

Kawauchi Leaves for Oslo After Trying 100 m Time Trial

The civil servant runner admits to being shocked. 2017 London World Championships marathoner and men's captain Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) left from Tokyo's Narita Airport for Norway the evening of Sept. 13 to run the Sept. 16 BMW Oslo Marathon.

On Sept. 9 at the National University Track and Field Championships, Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) became the first Japanese man to break 10 seconds in the 100 m when he set a new national record of 9.98. The news has been the talk of the nation ever since. Kawauchi said, "It's pretty amazing. It took up the front page of every newspaper." What can he run for 100 m? "My PB is 13.1, but right now, 13.9," he admitted.

Kawauchi ran that time, "in the morning the day before yesterday," he said. "I did two time trials. I even wore spikes. I ran them for real and only did 13.9. To be honest, it was pretty shocking." Although short sprints are well outside his area of expertise it seemed…