Skip to main content

Lake Biwa Marathon to be Subsumed Into Osaka Marathon


On Dec. 25 it was learned that the longest-running marathon in Japan, the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, will become a part of the Osaka Marathon beginning in 2022. Following Lake Biwa's 76th edition on Feb. 28, 2021, it will next take place under the tentative title of the 10th Osaka Marathon and 77th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Combined Competition. 

The Osaka Marathon executive committee finalized the plan at a meeting in Osaka on Dec. 25. Plans call for the 2022 race to take place on Feb. 27 utilizing the existing Osaka course. With an eye toward World Athletics' preference for large-scale races that combine elite and mass participation marathons, the plan will combine Lake Biwa's history of attracting top-level international and domestic athletes with Osaka's status as the second-largest mass-participation marathon behind only the Tokyo Marathon. Organizers are aiming to go one level higher than Lake Biwa's current World Athletics ranking of gold to achieve the top-level platinum ranking, and hope that the arrival of such a prestigious event will help pave the way for success for the Kansai region at the 2025 Osaka World Expo.

Lake Biwa's first edition in 1946 was held in Osaka, moving to its current location in 1962. Its lakeside course has welcomed countless famous athletes and helped produced a large number of Olympic and World Championships team members. The Osaka Marathon began in 2011. Starting in front of the Osaka Government Offices, its course passes many of Osaka's most popular tourist sites before finishing at Osaka Castle Park. Its 10th running in late November this year was canceled due to the coronavirus crisis, but it had attracted a field of 35,000 entrants.

Translator's note: The move to the last weekend of February puts Osaka a week before the platinum label Tokyo Marathon, Japan's largest, and two weeks before the platinum label Nagoya Women's Marathon, the world's largest women-only marathon. Obviously there are problems with that kind of schedule, but due to the demands of the fall ekiden season there aren't too many other options. It may sustain the Lake Biwa legacy if its organizers are to handle Osaka's elite field, but it would seem to put pressure on the future of the Osaka International Women's Marathon just a month earlier. A similar chain of events in Tokyo ultimately killed off the historic Tokyo International Women's Marathon while preserving the men-only Tokyo International Marathon as the Tokyo Marathon's elite field in its early years.

source article:
translated by Brett Larner

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

j said…
So that's Osaka Women's late January, Beppu-Oita, Nobeoka, and Osaka February, Tokyo and Nagoya Women's in March. And that doesn't count Marugame Half, Corporate Half, Student Half...

Most-Read This Week

Ichiyama and Kipkoech Win Sapporo Olympic Test Event Half Marathon

The test event for the Tokyo Olympics marathon went off as planned May 5 in Sapporo on a course more or less mirroring the first half of this summer's Olympic course. Strong winds from the south meant a slow start over the first 8 km, super fast splits from the turn to the north just before 10 km until after 15 km, and a technical finish into the wind over the narrow and winding last few km through the Hokkaido University campus. After a slow first km, Olympic marathon women's team members Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) and Mao Ichiyama  (Wacoal) plus alternate Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) took it out hard with pacing courtesy of one of Ichiyama's male coaches. They stayed together on 1:08 pace until almost 18 km before Suzuki slipped away, Ichiyama kicking to win in a 1:08:28 PB and Matsuda closing hard in 1:08:32 for 2nd, likewise a PB. Ichiyama's time moved her up to all-time Japanese #6, with Matsuda picking up the #7 spot and knocking her coach Miwako Yamanaka  out of t

Hironaka, Ando and Ito Score Olympic 10000 m Spots

20-year-old Ririka Hironaka  (Japan Post), marathoner Yuka Ando  (Wacoal) and last year's men's runner-up Tatsuhiko Ito  (Honda) joined the winners of December's 2020 National Championships 10000 m on the Tokyo Olympics team as they took the top spots at today's 2021 National Championships 10000 m in Shizuoka. Hironaka, who debuted over the distance three weeks ago with a 31:30.03, Ando and Kenyan pacer Tabitha Njeri Kamau  (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) were all about the 31:25.00 Olympic standard, going out on sub-31 pace and burning off all competition, including Kamau. Hironaka took 1st in 31:11.75 with Ando next in 31:18.18, each of them clearing the JAAF's two criteria for Olympic selection, finishing in the top three and hitting the standard, to join 2020 winner Hitomi Niiya  (Sekisui Kagaku) on the Olympic team. No other women broke 32 minutes, 2021 National University Half Marathon champion Narumi Kobayashi  (Meijo Univ.) running 32:08.45, the 8th-fastest Japanese

Douglas Wakiihuri Awarded Medal of Honor for Bridging Divide Between Japan and Kenya

Former marathon runner Douglas Wakiihuri  has been awarded Japan's Spring Medal of Honor, an award recognizing individuals who have make exceptional contributions to Japanese society and become role models. Japan has produced a lot of distance runners, but Wakiihuri was the first Kenyan to pass through the Japanese development system.  His contributions to the sports and cultural exchange between Japan and Kenya are held in high esteem. Speaking in fluent Japanese from his home in Nairobi, an ebullient Wakiihuri said, "I am very happy. I owe a longstanding debt to everyone in Japan. The joy I feel is not just mine, but belongs to all of them. I am truly grateful."  Wakiihuri joined the S&B corporate team in 1983. "I was just 19 years old," he recalls. "Japan gave me a chance." Under the leadership of the late coach Kiyoshi Nakamura , Wakiihuri won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1987 Rome World Championships and the silver medal at the 1988