Skip to main content

Police to Employ Drones for Security at Nagano Marathon for First Time

http://www.shinmai.co.jp/news/20150409/KT150408FTI090009000.php

translated by Brett Larner

The Nagano Prefectural Police Department announced this week that for the first time it will employ radio-controlled multicopter drones for security at the 17th running of the Nagano Marathon on April 19.  The drones were introduced in March for functions such as traffic accident site investigation.  At the Nagano Marathon they will play a surveillance role to help detect suspicious people and trouble in its early stages.  Images taken from the sky via the drones' onboard cameras will be transmitted to on-the-ground computers.  As a contingency for any crashes, the police plan to fly the drones high above areas without runners or race officials below.

According to the Prefectural Police Security Division Two, the drones will fly around the start area at Nagano Sports Park in the Yoshida neighborhood of the city and the finish at Nagano Olympic Stadium in the Shinonoitofukuji district. They will be used at the start in Nagano Sports Park from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. to coincide with the 8:30 a.m. start, and likewise they will fly above the Nagano Olympic Stadium finish at the point with the highest density of runners finishing, roughly from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

A Security Division 2 spokesperson commented, "The use of drones allows us to ascertain the situation over a large area."  After evaluating the outcome of this year's drone program police officials will determine whether to expand their use beyond the start and finish areas next year.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…