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Russian Victor Ugarov Wins Inaugural Kanazawa Marathon (updated)

translated and edited by Brett Larner
updated 11/16/15 with a quote from organizers from the second article above

The first running of the Kanazawa Marathon took place Nov. 15, with 11,821 runners traversing the course from the start on Hirosaka Dori to the finish at Seibu Ryokuchi Koen Field and enjoying the best of the Kanazawa autumn.

At 9:00 a.m., almost in sync with the starting pistol fired by Mayor Yamano, the rain that had been falling all morning abruptly stopped.  Runners from across the country and from Taiwan, America and other far-off lands made their way through the 7-zone course designed with the catchphrase "Run the whole of Kanazawa!" in mind.

Volunteers along the course handed out unusual refreshments like traditional Japanese sweets and Kanazawa curry, and brass bands and local firefighters in fancy dress provided courseside entertainment and encouragement to the runners.  At the finish at the prefectural track and field grounds, children's taiko drum and women's hula dance groups helped runners summon up the last bit of their strength as they ran toward the finish line.

In the men's race, Victor Ugarov from Kanazawa's sister city Irkutsk in Russia won in a PB 2:17:19.  Mai Fujino from Hokkaido won the women's race in 2:53:22.  According to race organizers, because Ugarov is not a member of the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) he is not subject to the ARAF's suspension and there was no problem with him participating.  The next edition of the Kanazawa Marathon is scheduled to be held Nov. 13, 2016.

Translator's note: According to its website the Kanazawa Marathon is certified by the IAAF, JAAF and AIMS and is held in compliance with 2015 JAAF rules and regulations.  As such, Ugarov's participation must be in violation of the IAAF's Nov. 13 suspension of the Russian Federation and prohibition on Russian athletes competing internationally.  Russian Tatyana Arkhipova was blocked from running today's Saitama International Marathon for this reason.

Update: The Kanazawa Marathon organizers' claim, added above, that there was "no problem" with Ugarov participating perfectly illustrates much of what JRN talked about yesterday in reference to problematic attitudes evinced at the Saitama International Marathon; details over big picture, relationships over appearances, indifference to attitudes overseas.  In the picture in the second article linked at the top Ugarov is the runner on the right in grey.  The Russian athlete next to him is rocking a Russian national color uniform.  Ugarov does have a profile on the IAAF website, and it has now been updated to include his post-ARAF suspension Kanazawa performance.  Apparently all it takes for Russian athletes to keep competing internationally is to cancel their ARAF memberships and find races that just don't give a shit.  

Kanazawa Marathon organizing committee contact info from the English-language section of its website for journalists and others wanting to follow up on this story: 

tel: +81 (0) 76-220-2726

Update 11/18/15: Ugarov's victory has now been annulled and he faces a suspension of up to four years for running while ineligible.  Click here for more.


I ran the Kanazawa Marathon yesterday, wondering how a 2:17 Russian marathoner was allowed to compete. There were two invited male Russian runners, one proudly wearing their national uniform. I assumed that since it was sister city relationship invitation the situation was different from the Saitama Marathon. I suppose if those two Russian runners were receiving Russian state funds to compete and Kanazawa is claiming to be abiding by IAAF rules then something isn't right here. I would like to hear an official statement from the Kanazawa Marathon.

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