Skip to main content

Tokyo-Area Marathon Cancelled Two Days Before Race After Organizers Fail to File Use Permits

translated and edited by Brett Larner
source articles linked at bottom

click photo for video of the purported race representative speaking to entrants who arrived on race morning

The "Tokyo Arakawa Marathon" scheduled for Dec. 21 along the Arakawa River on Tokyo's northern border was cancelled without warning two days before the race after organizers failed to submit road and park use permits and other necessary preparations with either the local Edogawa Ward or national authorities responsible for the park and riverside course.  Organizers had collected 5 million yen [~$42,500 USD] in entry fees from around 1500 people who paid 2000 to 4000 yen each via the popular Runnet online entry system to run in the event's 5 km, 10 km, half marathon and full marathon divisions.

70 entrants who were unaware of the cancellation began arriving at the event's staging ground in Hirai Park ahead of the scheduled 7:30 opening of race day reception.  A 28-year old man claiming to be a representative of the race organizers appeared at the site by himself to explain the situation, saying, "I haven't been able to contact the other people in the organization myself so I'm as much of a bind as any of you, but we'll try to get your entry fees back to you during January."  Many of the entrants raised angry voices in reply, saying, "We don't believe you."  "I've been training hard and spent a lot of money to come here."  "What the hell is this?"  "Are you at least going to pay for our train fare here today?"  The man answered, "Train fares, well....."

Despite the similarity of its name to other more well-known marathons like the Tokyo Arakawa Shimin Marathon and Tokyo Marathon, the Tokyo Arakawa Marathon is not affiliated with those or other events.  On Dec. 18 an entrant contacted the Edogawa Ward office, telling them, "It's just a few days before the race but I haven't heard a single thing from the organizers."  When Ward officials managed to contact the organizing group Reimei [At Dawn] on Dec. 19 they were told that the race "would be cancelled."  According to Reimei staff member Takafumi Sugimoto, 30, this was the group's first time organizing a marathon.  "I was surprised to hear that no use permit applications had been filed.  Very sorry about that."

Organizers posted a notice of the cancellation on the race website along with a request for entrants' bank account details and other personal information to process refunds.  They appear to have also sent emails informing the 1500 people who had entered that the event had been cancelled and that their entry fees would be returned, but the 70 people who arrived on race morning were still unaware.  One 48-year-old man from Katsushika Ward said, "I never got any email.  I didn't hear anything.  And I trained for this day and everything."  Another said, "I came from Niigata today to run.  I took time off work for it and made hotel reservations.  I don't know what I should do.  It's a shock."  A 59-year-old man who travelled from Sakura, Chiba Prefecture was suspicious of the organizers, saying, "I wonder if they're really going to return our entry fees."  Others at the site said, "It looks like they are going to pay us back, but it makes you wonder what the hell were they thinking."  "I had a bad feeling about this, and look what happened."  "They're asking for our personal information to process refunds?  Is that safe?"

According to the man claiming to be a Reimei representative, the organizers identify themselves as an NPO based in Toshima Ward but are a volunteer group without official legal status.  The man said that he lives in Mino, Osaka, and that the group was formed two years ago by three marathon fan friends who knew each other and communicated online and by phone.  The group's address listed on its website is actually a "virtual office" service used to provide a Tokyo-area address, a fact that has raised suspicions about its intentions.

The man said that 1 million yen [~$8500 USD] of the 5 million yen [~$42,500 USD] collected in entry fees had been used to buy tents and other supplies.  "Sorry for any inconvenience.  We want to do our best to get your money back to you."  With regard to the "Arakawa Spring Marathon" the same group is scheduled to hold in March and for which entries have been suspended, the man said, "About 150 people have already signed up, and we definitely want to fill out the necessary use applications this time so we can go ahead with that race." 

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/20141222-OYT1T50031.html
http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20141220k0000e040193000c.html
http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/9600066/
http://cyclestyle.net/article/2014/12/20/17429.html

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
Well, it certainly sounds like a scam. On the other hand, if it was a scam, no one would have showed up.
Anonymous said…
If it is a scam, the "organizer" has some guts to show up on race day...!

-Anna
Really bad, as it will damage trust people have in organizers. As a result, formalities will inevitably increase... pain in the neck. Happy I got my permission for Jan. 24 already - incidentally, on almost the same course!

Most-Read This Week

Oct. 17 Tokyo Marathon Set to Cancel Due to Extension of State of Emergency

With the government set to extend the state of emergency in Tokyo and other parts of the country, as of Sept. 6 it is all but certain that the Oct. 17 Tokyo Marathon will be canceled.  The published guidelines for the 2021 race state, "In the event that a state of emergency has been issued one month prior to the event as part of the government's efforts against the coronavirus pandemic, or if the local government has issued a request not to hold the race, the Tokyo Marathon will be canceled." The current state of emergency in Tokyo runs through Sept. 12, but as it is expected to be extended 2~3 weeks it will still be in force on the 17th. This makes the chances that the Tokyo Marathon will go ahead virtually non-existent. The event's organizers, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation, plan to hold a board meeting in mid-September to make a final decision. The 2021 Tokyo Marathon was originally scheduled for Mar. 7, but in October last year in light of pandemic conditions the

Tokyo-Area Qualifier for National University Women's Ekiden Canceled

a press release from the event organizers, the KGRR As the weather shifts to the pleasantness of early autumn we send you our warmest greetings, and we thank you all for your continued support of the KGRR's activities. After careful discussion with the host city of Inzai, Chiba, we have made the decision to cancel the 27th Kanto Region University Women's Ekiden.  As this race serves to select the greater Tokyo area's representative teams at October's 39th National University Women's Ekiden, we will instead hold a selection event as per the details below, without spectators and following all the COVID-19 protocols outlined in the JAAF's "Guidance for Resuming Athletics Competition." Please be aware that depending on the status of the pandemic this event may also be canceled. We ask for your understanding and cooperation with this decision. Kanto Region Selection Event for 39th National University Women's Ekiden Date:  Saturday, Sept. 29, 2021 Locat

Kikutani 4th in Vienna

Kento Kikutani  (Toyota Boshoku) added a bit of drama to the Vienna City Marathon even before the disqualification of its original winner. 9th at February's record-breaking Lake Biwa Marathon in a PB of 2:07:26, Kikutani was the only one of the four Japanese men in Vienna to go with the lead pack. He stayed with them well into the second half before dropping off, but as the lead quartet slowed to set up for the last kick he came back, just making contact with the back of the group before the move came. Kikutani went into fourth, but with less than 2 km to go he suddenly stopped, walked, and then appeared to stretch out a cramp of other issue.  He dropped back to 5th by the time he made it across the line in 2:10:37, still good enough for the fastest time by a Japanese man overseas since Kenta Murayama 's 2:08:56 at the 2019 Berlin Marathon. It was a promising start to the post-Tokyo 2020 continuum. When initial winner Derara Hurisa  (Ethiopia) was disqualified for wearing non