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

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). With a 1:01:20 at last year's Prague Half debuting Kenyan Eliud Mwangi should also factor into the front end. Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials start…

Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon to be Held September 15, 2019

On June 15 the JAAF announced the date and course for the Marathon Grand Championship Race, or MGC Race for short, its new almost-one-shot trials race that will determine at least two of the three members of its men's and women's marathon teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The MGC Race will be held 11 months prior to the Olympics on September 15, 2019. The winners of the MGC Race will be named to the 2020 team, with either the 2nd or 3rd placer also named to the team depending on whether either has broken a fast standard, 2:05:30 for men and 2:21:00 for women. The remaining top three placer will have to wait until March, 2020 to find out whether they will be included on the team or passed over in favor of someone who clears another fast standard in one of the big six domestic elite marathons in the winter of 2019-20.

The MGC Race course will closely follow the already announced Olympic course, the only key exception being a start and finish in the Jingu Gaien district nearby …