Skip to main content

50,000 Sign Petition to Change Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon to Mass-Participation Format

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/oita/article/115175

translated by Brett Larner

An organization seeking to change one of Japan's oldest elite marathons, the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon held each February in the cities of Oita and Beppu, delivered a petition with 50,000 signatures to the Oita Prefectural Government on Sept. 19.  After delivering the petition the group held a press conference at the Government headquarters, saying, "We call on race organizers to do their part to promote tourism and increase the number of people coming to the prefecture by making it possible for more amateur runners to participate in the race."

The group submitting the petition was the "Beppu-Oita Mainichi Mass Participation Marathon Citizens' Council" organized by members of the Beppu city tourism board.  Among the requests on the petition they delivered to Governor Katsusada Hirose were calls to relax the current sub-3:30 time requirement for participation and course changes involving a start in front of Beppu Station and a finish on Oita's main Chuo Dori street in front of Oita Station.

At the press conference, Citizens' Council chairman Katsumi Takamiya commented, "If the race opens the door to the average amateur it will have a tremendous impact on local tourism.  Road closures and many other issues remain challenges to be faced, but the benefits of developing Oita Prefecture's image as "Home of the Hot Spring" are tremendous."

Translator's note: The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon relaxed its long-standing elite and sub-elite-only format in 2011 to allow amateurs up to the sub-3:30 level, including women, to run.  A wave of other historic elite-only races across the country have also moved to mass-participation formats in the last few years, some abandoning their elite components and others finding ways to incorporate them into the mass-participation event.  Oita Prefecture, and in particular the town of Beppu, is one of Japan's biggest hot spring hot spots.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

Fresh off a 1:00:17 half marathon national record last weekend and a 28:55 road 10 km the one before, Yuta Shitara (Honda) lived up to expectations at today's Berlin Marathon, trying to go with the lead group and running the first part of the race alone between the first and second groups.

Whatever his plan, Shitara was swallowed up by the second pack, a good turn of events as it was travelling ahead of Japanese national record pace on track for just sub-2:06. Shitara hung with that group through 25 km before his projected time started to creep away, drifting to high-2:06 pace by 30 km, high-2:07 by 35 km, and high-2:08 by 40 km. In the end he was well short of Toshinari Takaoka's 2:06:16 national record, but with a 2:09:03 for 6th Shitara took 24 seconds off his best with the fastest Japanese men's performance in Berlin since Takayuki Inubushi's then-NR 2:06:57 in 1999. And just 8 days after the greatest half marathon performance in Japanese history.

『ベルリンマラソン動画 設楽悠太…

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…

Ayuko Suzuki Leaves for Altitude Training in Boulder Motivated for the Marathon

2017 London World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m runner Ayuko Suzuki (25, Japan Post) left from Narita Airport on Sept. 18 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado.

Two days earlier at a half marathon in Czech Republic, Yuta Shitara (25, Honda), like Suzuki born in 1991, broke the 10-year-old Japanese men's half marathon national record in a time of 1:00:17. "It's a big motivation to see an athlete the same age as me doing something like that," she said. Showing her determination to be one of her generation's leaders, she added, "I'll be 28 [at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics], right in my prime mentally and physically. I want to run big too."

In the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics Suzuki has the marathon in sight along with the track. "I need to run a half marathon and marathon somewhere once to check [how well they suit me]," she said. "Coach and I will be talking about it." If everything goes according to plan, December's Sanyo …