Skip to main content

Oct. 16 Shimantogawa Ultra Canceled Due to Pandemic's Effects on Aging Local Population

Scheduled to happen Oct. 16 for the first time in three years, the 28th Shimantogawa Ultramarathon has been abruptly canceled. Shimanto mayor Masahiro Nakahira, chairperson of the event's organizing committee, announced the decision at a press conference. The mayor cited the difficulty in locating volunteers due to the ongoing pandemic situation in the city and area, and concerns that the local medical system could be overwhelmed. Whether the race will go ahead next year remains undetermined.

Applications for the race were open until July 29. 1506 people paid to sign up for the 1800 slots available in the 100 km division, with the 60 km division attracting 524 paid entrants out of a maximum field size of 600. Mayor Nakahira commented, "In the past we've always had more applicants than available slots, and there were even years where the number of applicants was triple the field maximum field size. This is one impact of the coronavirus pandemic." The number of volunteers was also lower than anticipated. 1800 applicants were expected, but only 1300 people applied to volunteer.

The race's course along the Shimanto River passes through mountainous areas where the effects of depopulation and the aging of those who remain are evident. "We heard from several villages this month that said they are afraid of the coronavirus or are simply too old to volunteer anymore," said Mayor Nakahira. "We might have still been able to do something by playing around with the course layout, but we thought it was important to make a decision as early as possible."

The event's future is currently a blank page in its history book. The organizing committee is exploring ways to keep the race going by re-examining its recruitment and utilization of volunteers, but the struggle to get enough volunteers has been an issue for years and the organizers are said to be considering ending the race as one option. "The Shimantogawa Ultramarathon is a very popular event, and locals in the mountains always turn out to cheer the runners on," said Mayor Nakahira. "It's my hope that we'll be able to come up with options."

source article:
translated by Brett Larner

Buy Me A Coffee


Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat 27:07.59 MR to Win Deepest-Ever 10000 m in Hachioji

2019 African U18 3000 m champ Emmanuel Kiplagat (Mitsubishi Juko) led a 3-way sprint finish to break the meet record at the Hachioji Long Distance meet at Kanagawa's Gion Stadium Saturday, going under the 2023 Budapest World Championships standard for the first time in 27:07.59. 2nd-placer Benson Kiplangat (Subaru) also cleared the 27:10.00 Worlds standard in 27:09.83, 3rd-placer Samwel Masai (Kao) just missing in 27:10.06. With the WaveLight pacing system making its Japanese debut the Hachioji A-heat produced the deepest-ever 10000 m. The first 24 finishers cleared 28 minutes, breaking the previous world record of 21 set at last year's Hachioji meet. 12th-placer Takuya Hanyu (Toyota Boshoku) ran 27:27.49 to come in at all-time Japanese #4 and knock former NR holder Toshinari Takaoka out of the all-time top 10. Led by Takashi Nanba (Toenec) in 27:48.27, another 10 men were sub-28 in the B-heat including 2:06:35 marathoner Kyohei Hosoya (Kurosaki Harima), 9th in a PB 27:

Margaret Akidor Breaks 3000 m JPN All Comers Record at Nittai

Two weeks after running 14:44.83 at Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials , 22-year-old Margaret Akidor (Comodi Iida) continued her rise up the ranks to global relevance with another stellar run at Nittai on Sunday. Running in the fastest 3000 m heat with support from 19-year-old Agnes Mwikali (Kyocera), Akidor took nearly 20 seconds off her best with an 8:32.53 for the win. That was the fastest ever run in Japan by 3 seconds and enough to put her #8 in the world this year. Mwikali was solid too at 8:37.17, almost 10 seconds under her previous best and the next-best ever run in Japan apart from two dodgy early '90s marks by Soviet athletes. 3rd-placer Mizuki Michishita (Rikkyo Univ.) was in another league at 9:13.68. Kazuna Kanetomo (Kyocera) won the women's 5000 m A-heat in 15:56.42, the only woman under 15 minutes. In the men's 5000 m Kenyan Richard Etir won the A-heat in 13:16.20, a time beaten this weekend only by Benard Koech (Kyudenko) at Fukuoka's

Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage Legends Kamino and Kashiwabara Say Thin Shoes Better for Uphill Running

Pro runner Daichi Kamino (Cell Source) has an opinion on today's generation of thick-soled shoes that is getting attention. On Nov. 19 Kamino ran a 13.5 km uphill race on the Hakone turnpike as part of his training, finishing 7th in 54:18. Now 29, Kamino is famous for winning the Hakone Ekiden's legendary uphill Fifth Stage in 2015, earning him the nickname "God of the Mountain III." He has run professionally since 2018. After the Nov. 19 race Kamino tweeted, "I knew I was going to be running up a steep hill, and for that kind of uphill running thin shoes are better than thick ones." In recent years the long distance running world has been caught up in a whirlwind by the new style of thick shoes containing a carbon plate. Since the technology's introduction the Japanese men's marathon national record has been broken four times, and all ten individual stage records at the Hakone Ekiden have been broken at least once. Everyone knows the thick shoes p