Skip to main content

The Tokyo Marathon Course Change - Masuzoe's Only Achievement as Governor? An Editorial

http://www.zakzak.co.jp/society/domestic/news/20160726/dms1607261200010-n1.htm

an editorial by Minoru Nasu, Sankei Newspaper photo editor
translated by Brett Larner

"Tokyo Station will form the stunningly picturesque backdrop for the new finish line."  With these words Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe confidently announced the change of the Tokyo Marathon course at a press conference on March 29.

The Sankei Newspaper is one of the Tokyo Marathon's sponsors.  Being in charge of photography, I set up an on-site meeting with representatives of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation to discuss issues like the shooting locations in the new finish area so that our reporters and photographers would be able to do their jobs smoothly.  "That's so easy for you to say, Mr. Masuzoe..."  That was my immediate reaction when I heard the news about the course change.  There are a lot of constraints on marathons held on public roads, and things do not proceed as planned.

Runners crossing the finish line framed by Tokyo Station.  There's no doubt those would be spectacular pictures if you could find the perfect angle.  Having now resigned his position as governor in the political fallout from a scandal involving misuse of public funds, is this the only thing Masuzoe actually accomplished?  It may become his lone achievement.  But the issue is whether it survives the July 31 election for his replacement.  We could start to hear calls to "Repeal the course change too!"

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…