Skip to main content

12,156 Take Part in First Running of Fukuoka Marathon

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/f_toshiken/article/126034

translated by Brett Larner

The first running of the Fukuoka Marathon took place Nov. 9 on a course from downtown Fukuoka to Itoshima.  A total of 12,156 people took part in the full marathon and the 5.2 km fun run and wheelchair divisions, soaking up enthusiastic cheering from local residents as the course passed through towns and along the seafront.

The full marathon featured 11,173 participants including 7929 men and 2244 women.  Rain that began falling the night of the 8th lifted just before the 8:18 wheelchair start and 8:20 marathon and fun run start from Tenjin Crossing outside Tenjin Station in Fukuoka.  Light rain fell occasionally during the race, but with a high temperature of 18.4 degrees conditions throughout the day were comfortable for a marathon.  9898 runners, 7754 men and 2144 women, reached the finish line near Itoshima City Hall, a finish rate of 97.3%.

Local runners led the day, with Tetsuya Shoji (30, Fukuoka Track and Field Assoc.) winning the men's race in 2:27:57 and Mari Hanada (34, Ohori Runners) winning the women's race in 2:53:23.  Four athletes took part in the wheelchair race, three finishing.

According to race officials, five runners were transported by ambulance for hypothermia and vomiting, but in all cases, "The runners' symptoms were not severe."  Many of the cases came from the long waiting line for the shuttle busses to JR Chikuzen Maebaru Station, an issue that will need to be worked out for next year's race.

Race officials summed up the race positively, saying, "We are relieved that the first running went off successfully.  This event could not have happened without our sponsoring companies and regional organizations, our volunteers, and all the people who participated in the race.  We want to resolve what problems we did encounter to make an even better event in the future."

Translator's note: Only 4 weeks separate the Fukuoka Marathon from the long-standing elite Fukuoka International Marathon.  Race organizers told JRN that the Fukuoka Marathon, an expansion of the well-established Fukuoka Half Marathon, was envisioned as a mass-participation addition to Fukuoka International as is the trend with many of Japan's other elite races, but that this idea was flatly rejected by Fukuoka International organizers.  With police strict about issuing road closure permits and the mass-participation event bringing in considerable numbers of people from outside the region the new Fukuoka Marathon's success has to raise questions about the future of the older elite race.

photo (c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…