Skip to main content

Tokyo Marathon Announces Major Course Change for 2017

http://www.marathon.tokyo/news-media/news/news_000062.html

translated by Brett Larner
click here for a map of the 2017 Tokyo Marathon course

Thanks to your support, last month the Tokyo Marathon celebrated its tenth edition as an annual event since its first running in 2007.  During those ten years the landscape has changed dramatically, from redevelopment in the city center that has brought about a spectacular new Tokyo cityscape to the evolution of the marathon as a high-speed event and the rise to international prominence of wheelchair racing.  Thus, from the twin perspectives of showing the best of modern Tokyo inside and out and of offering a course capable of producing the fastest times in the world, the Tokyo Marathon will feature a new course beginning with 2017's race.

Translator's note:  Roughly 13-14 km of the 2017 course will cover new and flatter ground, the rest representing a shuffling of current segments.  The new course keeps the same starting point at Tokyo city hall but eliminates the unpopular hilly and barren last 6 km, moving the finish point to its originally envisioned location between the western side of Tokyo Station and the eastern side of the Imperial Palace.  

To achieve this the course will no longer pass the Imperial Palace between 5 and 10 km, instead heading through more nondescript business districts to a new 10 km point at Nihonbashi.  There it picks up the out-and-back to Asakusa that formed the third quarter of the old course, with the addition of an entirely new ~9 km out-and-back segment on the eastern side of the Sumida River between 16 and 25 km before returning through Ginza.  The ~10 km long out-and-back to Shinagawa that formed the second quarter holding pattern of the old course now makes up its last 10 km, with the finish outside Tokyo Station offering the only glimpse of the Imperial Palace.  

As such the new course is both a win and a loss, doubtlessly succeeding in the goal of being faster but pretty questionable on the other goal of showcasing the best of Tokyo despite the elimination of the bridges-and-landfill blight of the old finish.  The politics of dealing with the Tokyo police department and the Imperial Household Agency are complex, but while it's not the best remix that could have been done the new course should at the very least make up for its shortcomings by offering the average runner better crowd support late in the race and far more convenient post-race logistics.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Japan's London World Championships Marathon Squad Arrives Back Home

The six members of Japan's men's and women's marathon teams at the ongoing London World Championships returned to Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Aug. 9. Decked out in the official team suit, Japanese team captain and at 9th the top-placing Japanese marathoner in London Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) spoke to the media.

Having declared pre-race his intention to withdraw from consideration for future Japanese National Team positions, post-race Kawauchi showed no change in that intent. With regard to his future plans, his motivation as a competitor likewise remaining unchanged, Kawauchi indicated that he will run Decmeber's Fukuoka International Marathon,where his 3rd-place overall finish last year earned him his place in London. "In Fukuoka I want to break my PB and run 2:07," he said. "There are things I want to accomplish besides being on the National Team."

Kawauchi revealed that his next marathon will be September's Oslo Marathon, whe…

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…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…