translated and edited by Brett Larner
The organizers of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have announced course changes for the event's 65th running on Feb. 7, 2016, the first course changes since 2010. The start at Umitamago and finish at Oita Municipal Field will remain the same, but the two turnaround points will each be extended roughly a kilometer while the loop section through the city of Oita will be eliminated. By reducing the number of times the course crosses bridges over the Oita River organizers believe the race will become flatter and faster, their main goal in making the changes.
The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon has also been named as the final selection race for the Japanese national team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in the visually impaired marathon category. 2015 IPC World Championships medalists Tadashi Horikoshi (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) and Misato Michishita (OBRC) have already been chosen for the 3-man, 3-woman Rio teams, with the second members to be selected at Beppu-Oita. The remaining members will be chosen from the top Japanese finishers at the 2015 Hokkaido Marathon and 2015 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon.
Governor Katsusada Hirose commented, "A flatter course means that runners can produce better times, and my hope is that that will elevate this event's stature as an elite marathon. There is a good chance that it will also become a selection race for the Tokyo Paralympics, so next year's race will be extremely important."