Skip to main content

Runnet to Return Entry Fees as More Details Emerge About Cancelled Tokyo Arakawa Marathon

translated and edited by Brett Larner
source articles linked below
click photo for video of a FNN report on this story

 Evidence has emerged of a history of sloppy race management by the organizers of the Tokyo Arakawa Marathon scheduled for Dec. 21 but cancelled without warning two days beforehand.  A single representative of race organizers Reimei appeared at the race's staging ground on Dec. 21 to talk to the roughly 70 of 1500 entrants who arrived race morning unaware that the race had been cancelled.  "I thought that the permit applications had been filed, but right beforehand the ward office contacted us and said, 'Nothing has been filed.'"  Entrants who had turned up to run were shocked.  "This is the first I've heard about it being cancelled," said one.  "This is a scam, isn't it?"  Another said, "Usually at a race there would be lots of volunteers and race staff, like 100 people.  This certainly looks like a scam to me."

According to the representative, the organizing group was made up of just three people.  The group's official name is "Reimei Non-Profit Organization," but it is not listed as a registered NPO with official government agencies.  The address listed on the organizer's website does not belong to them, but is a virtual office service that allows people to rent the Tokyo address and phone number required to open a business in Tokyo.  Any telephone calls or other communications would be forwarded directly to the service's clients.  According to the virtual office management, the members of Reimei had never been to the address.

Although the group collected roughly 5 million yen [$42,500 USD] in entry fees from the 1,500 entrants they never filed the necessary permit applications, and the representative said that he had not been able to contact the other two members after the race's cancellation.  "The goal wasn't to make money," he said.  "We just wanted to have the experience of trying to put on a marathon however we could."

Reimei began organizing the race in October, two months before race date.  According to an event company that organizes other races, a marathon the scale of the Tokyo Arakawa Marathon would normally require four months preparation at an absolute minimum.  The Reimei representative told members of the media, "We've put on about ten races before."  In June, 2013, Reimei organized the Koto Arashiyama Marathon.  Online post-race comments from participants complained of very sloppy race management, saying, "The course was only a 2 m wide cycling road and I kept running into oncoming runners who had already gone around the turnaround point."  "The bib numbers were just ordinary photocopies.  When I started sweating after a few km they disintegrated and were totally meaningless."

The representative said that the organizers were planning to refund entry fees around mid-January but were still considering the best way to process refunds.  However, the operators of the Runnet online entry site used by Reimei stepped forward to say that they would issue refunds to entrants themselves.  Runnet, Japan's leading race entry site with 1,700,000 registered users, provides online entry services to a large number of races across the country, handling entrants' applications and fees.  Although Reimei said that it would issue refunds in January, many entrants contacted Runnet saying, "The organizers can't be trusted."  Runnet operators R-bies Inc., of Shibuya, Tokyo, indicated in a notice on their website that they intend to handle refunds themselves.  "The decision to cancel the race was the organizers', but we want to help protect all those who entered.  Ordinarily refunds would be organizers' obligation, but in this case we will take special measures to help the runners who entered this race.  We are considering the best way to handle refunds."  R-bies Inc. had already paid 1 million yen to Reimei but still holds the remaining 4 million yen. 

One Tokyo Arakawa Marathon entrant who said he uses Runnet around once a month said, "I thought that because this race was on Runnet it would be done properly.  I hope Runnet does whatever they need to do to make sure this doesn't happen again."  A spokesperson for R-bies Inc. indicated that they are considering how to have stricter review of race listings, saying, "We've caused stress for our registrants and want to correct that problem as soon as possible."

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/videonews/fnn?a=20141222-00000199-fnn-soci
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/20141223-OYT1T50017.html
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/national/news/CK2014122402000115.html

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Norway's Moen Blasts 2:05:48 European Record to Win Fukuoka

More than living up to the promise of his 59:48 Norwegian half marathon record at October's Valencia Half, Sondre Nordtad Moen took down all comers to win the 2017 Fukuoka International Marathon in a European record 2:05:48.

【福岡国際マラソン】

🏆優 勝 モーエン 2:05.48! pic.twitter.com/lpzMUYHfhu — NOBUKI T&F (@nobu_777__tf) December 3, 2017
Superb pacing work took the lead group through 30 km with almost perfect 3:00/km splits along the way, a race of attrition that shaved down the field to a core group of five real contenders. Defending champ Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) was the first big name to go, with 2:06 man Lani Rutto (Kenya), the debuting Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) and last year's 3rd-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) among the other big names to lose touch in the first half, leaving Moen, favorite Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA), London Olympics gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), last year's 5th-placer Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) and Boston Maratho…

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Shitara Wins Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler

In a year that saw him deliver one of the most memorable debut marathons in history, a half marathon national record, 10000 m and marathon PBs and more, Yuta Shitara (Honda) ended 2017 on a high note, beating three-time defending champion Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) to win the 42nd Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler. Shitara, Karemi, London World Championships marathoner Hiroto Inoue (MHPS), Ethiopian Abayneh Degu (Yasukawa Denki) and track ace Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) ran together in a lead group through the early going, but Shitara was just too much for the others to handle.

Shitara broke the tape in 45:58, only the fourth Japanese man to ever clear 45 minutes. Karemi was well under last year's winning time but nowhere close to catching Shitara, finishing 2nd in 46:10 and Inoue only 2 seconds behind him. With many corporate and university teams using Kosa to tune up for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, it regularly produces the deepest 10 mile results i…