Skip to main content

Corporate League Federation to Put Up Million Dollar Bonus for New Japanese Marathon National Record

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH3F66N3H3FUTQP02J.html

translated by Brett Larner

A new Japanese national record in the marathon will now be worth 100 million yen.  To provide extra motivation to the Japanese marathoning world in the buildup to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Japan Industrial Track and Field Association overseeing the country's corporate running league has approved plans to establish the exceptional bonus [worth roughly $1 million USD at normal exchange rates] and will make the formal decision at a meeting of its board of directors in Tokyo on March 18.

The national records symbolize the stagnation of Japan's marathoning world.  They have not been touched since Toshinari Takaoka ran 2:06:16 in 2002 and Mizuki Noguchi ran 2:19:12 in 2005.  In the Olympics as well, nobody has won a medal since Koichi Morishita took silver at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and Noguchi gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

However, thanks to the popularity of the ekiden the depth of athletes has increased tremendously, and if that can be channeled into the marathon then  success at the Tokyo Olympics will become a possibility.  In addition to the bonus for athletes who break the record, their coaches will also be paid 50 million yen [~$500,000 USD] with the goal of creating an active focus not just on the ekiden but also on the marathon.

There are still issues to be faced with collecting funds for the bonus from sponsors, but plans call for the bonus to be in place by the fall with possible provisions to extend it to athletes outside the corporate league as well.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

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…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

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…