Skip to main content

Tsukuba Marathon to Introduce Japan's First Wave Start

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/local/ibaraki/news/20151111-OYTNT50379.html

translated by Brett Larner

The Tsukuba Marathon in Tsukuba, Ibaraki will feature the country's first wave start system at its 35th running on Nov. 22, staggering the race's start based on entrants' declared times.  The move is intended to reduce congestion and risk of falling at the start, and experts from Tsukuba University will study its effects.

Currently, almost all domestic Japanese marathons feature a single start.  In many races with 10,000 or more entrants it can take more than 10 minutes for the last runners to cross the start line.  Official results utilize gross time, the time from the starting gun to when the runner crosses the finish line, but with the growth of mass participation the large discrepancy between gross time and net time, a runner's actual time from the start line to the finish line as determined by timing chips, has become an increasing problem.  Another is that the congestion at the start means that runners usually can't get into their target pace until many kilometers have passed.

A wave start groups runners based on their pre-declared times, with groups starting sequentially beginning with the fastest.  Reducing the number of runners starting together cuts down on the time loss at the start, and by grouping runners of similar ability together there is a lower risk of interference and collisions due to different paces. 

This year's Tsukuba Marathon will feature three groups starting in 10 minute intervals beginning at 9:00 a.m.  Each group will have from 2800 to 6500 runners.  Tsukuba University professor of physical education Kenji Nabekura will study the system's outcome.  "A 5 minute reduction of loss time at the start is likely," said Professor Nabekura.  "If this approach becomes the norm racing will be a far more comfortable experience."  The university will also study the visibility of distance marks and aid stations from the runners' point of view and the effects of road closure plans based on research into traffic volume.

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
As usual, Japan is about 20 years behind the times. But I'm glad someone finally raised their head out of the sand.
Would it be too much to ask the Tokyo Marathon to do this? Yes, probably...they still have 10K runners mixed in with marathoners, and put lots of slow federation runners up front (thousands of them).

Most-Read This Week

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…

Tanaka and Hashioka Win Gold - World U20 Championships Day Two Japanese Results

Working together to execute an aggressive frontrunning team strategy born from failure two years ago in Bydgoszcz, 2018 Asian U20 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka and 2018 Asian Junior Cross Country gold medalist Yuna Wada opened a massive lead over the African Junior Cross Country medalist Ethiopian duo of Meselu Berhe and Tsige Gebreselama in the early going of the Tampere World U20 Championships women's 3000 m. Tanaka took the lead from the gun before Wada went out front at 200 m to set a fast pace. Through splits of 3:00 and 3:03 for the first 2000 m, Tanaka kicked hard from 300 m out to close with a 2:51 for Japan's first-ever gold medal in the event, winning in a PB of 8:54.01.

Berhe and Gebreselama caught Wada on the back corner but weren't even close to matching Tanaka, taking 2nd and 3rd in PBs just under the 9-minute mark. Wada just held off Kenyan Jenali Jemutai Yego for 4th in 9:00.50, seeming happy in post-race interviews to have helped a teammate score gol…

Kamulu Runs 10000 m World Lead, Ahn Breaks Korean National Record, Tamura Clears 28 Minutes, Niiya Back on Track in Fukagawa

National records fell for the third meet in a row in the four-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series Wednesday in Fukagawa, Hokkaido. Longtime Japan resident Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) had a shockingly good run in the women's 10000 m A-heat, following up her 1:06:56 bronze medal run at the Valencia World Half Marathon Championships by lopping over a minute off her 10000 m best with a 2018 world-leading time of 30:41.85.

Kamulu lapped the entire field, her nearest competitor Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) returning from a 2:23:46 marathon PB in Osaka in January to take 30 seconds off her own best in 32:13.87. Further back, Seul Ki Ahn broke the South Korean national record set 13 years ago in Fukagawa with a new mark of 32:33.61. Ahn's NR followed the 2:25:41 NR set by Do Yeon Kim at the Seoul International Marathon in March, a miniature renaissance in South Korea women's distance running.

The men's 10000 m A-heat was also decently fast, Andrew Lorot (Subaru) leading fo…