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

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…

New Balance Nationals and Record-Breaking Times Nationwide at Japanese High School Regionals

The New Balance Nationals Outdoor was the weekend's big high school meet in the U.S.A., but from Thursday through Monday regions across Japan also held their qualifying meets for the July 29 - Aug. 2 National High School Track and Field Championships in Yamagata. Performances were at a high level across the board, with at least eight meet records nationwide in distance events.

Five girls broke 4:20 in the 1500 m, with Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) leading the way with a 4:09.67 meet record to win the Tohoku Region. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) was the fastest Japanese girl, winning the Kinki Region title in 4:18.32. On the boys' side, four broke 3:50 in the 1500 m, three of them in the Kinki Region meet. Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) took the Kinki title in 3:46.86.



In the girls' 3000 m, five girls including both Ekarare and Tanaka were under 9:05 nationwide. Ekarare and Tanaka both doubled with 3000 m wins, but the fastest time came from Tabitha Kamau (Kamimu…

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…