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Historical past, Course, Coaching & Race Day

The Tokyo Marathon, run on the primary Sunday of March annually, is a well-liked and prestigious marathon that welcomes runners worldwide to take part in one of many hardest races hosted by Tokyo. It’s often known as the marathon with the most important elite begin of all of the Majors.

From the historical past of the marathon and easy methods to qualify to course information and qualifying requirements, we’ll discover the finer particulars of the Tokyo Marathon and share with you simply what it takes to take part within the Tokyo Marathon subsequent yr. 

This is the Tokyo Marathon. 

Operating The Tokyo Marathon

The Historical past of the Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon Guide

The Tokyo Marathon is simply one of many six marathons that kind the World Marathon Majors. The others are New York Metropolis, London, Chicago, Boston and Berlin.

First run in 2007, this marathon has gone by means of just a few modifications. 

Earlier than 2007, the Tokyo Marathon consisted of two separate marathons – the Tokyo – New York Friendship Marathon on odd years and the Tokyo Worldwide Marathon on even years. Each of those marathons began in 1981 however have been solely a month aside, so it was determined that they might alternate. In 2007, the 2 marathons have been mixed into the Tokyo Marathon.

Now one of many world’s hottest 26.2-mile races, the Tokyo Marathon has earned itself the title of World Athletics Platinum Label Marathon and is a should for elite athletes and beginner runners alike. 

The marathon is sponsored by the Tokyo Metro and permits charity groups to take part, elevating much-needed funds for the 33 charity organizations supported by the RUN with HEART charity program of the Tokyo Marathon.

Let’s have a look at just a few key historic dates that formed the world of marathon operating in Tokyo and made it the occasion it’s right this moment. Listed here are just a few of the extra notable occasions which have made the Tokyo Marathon what it’s right this moment:

  • 1981: The Tokyo Marathon was made up of two occasions: the primary was the Tokyo – New York Friendship Worldwide Marathon and the second was the Tokyo Worldwide Marathon. 
  • 1982: Race organizers rapidly discovered that internet hosting two marathons wasn’t possible, and the occasions alternated yearly. The Tokyo Worldwide Marathon was run on even years, whereas the Tokyo – New York Friendship Marathon was run on odd years. 
  • 2007: The 2 marathons have been mixed to turn out to be the Tokyo Marathon we all know right this moment. The occasion was sponsored by the Tokyo Metro. The inaugural race noticed 25,000 runners participating within the full marathon, whereas a further 5,000 runners participated within the 10K. The Tokyo Marathon was chosen as a variety race for the 2007 World Championships in Athletics held in Osaka. The marathon was run on February 18th, 2007.
  • 2010: Runner Masakazu Fujiwara grew to become the primary Japanese nationwide to win the boys’s title on the Tokyo Marathon. He crossed the road in 2:12:19. 
  • 2014: Dickson Chumba, a Kenyan nationwide, set a brand new course report as he crossed the end line with a time of two:05:42. Second place went to Ethiopian Tadese Tola with a time of two:05:57. 
  • 2020: The Tokyo Marathon noticed a change in entry as solely elite runners have been in a position to run the race as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. Different entries have been deferred to 2021. Musician Hyde launched a observe known as “Believing in Myself” to pay tribute to the thrill and challenges of operating a race just like the Tokyo Marathon. 
  • 2021: The Tokyo Marathon was postponed to October seventeenth as a result of pandemic. The occasion was once more postponed to 2022. 
  • 2022: The 2021 Tokyo Marathon came about on March sixth, 2022. There wasn’t a 2022 Tokyo Marathon. Abroad runners weren’t allowed to compete, with their entries deferred to the 2023 Tokyo Marathon. 

Course Data and Wins

Many information have been set on the Tokyo Marathon since its inception in 2007. Right here is the record of winners and course information for this prestigious marathon:

Males’s Division

Yr Identify Nationality End Time
2007 Daniel Njenga Kenya 2:09:45
2008 Viktor Röthlin Switzerland 2:07:23
2009 Salim Kipsang Kenya 2:10:27
2010 Masakazu Fujiwara Japan 2:12:19
2011 Hailu Mekonnen Ethiopia 2:07:35
2012 Michael Kipyego Kenya 2:07:37
2013 Dennis Kimetto Kenya 2:06:50
2014 Dickson Chumba Kenya 2:05:42
2015 Endeshaw Negesse Ethiopia 2:06:00
2016 Feyisa Lilesa Ethiopia 2:06:56
2017 Wilson Kipsang Kenya 2:03:58
2018 Dickson Chumba Kenya 2:05:30
2019 Birhanu Legese Ethiopia 2:04:48
2020 Birhanu Legese Ethiopia  2:04:15
2021 Eliud Kipchoge Kenya 2:02:40 (course report)

Ladies’s Division

Yr Identify Nationality End Time
2007 Hitomi Niiya Japan 2:31:01
2008 Claudia Dreher Germany 2:35:35
2009 Mizuho Nasukawa Japan 2:25:38
2010 Alevtina Biktimirova Russia 2:34:39
2011 Noriko Higuchi Japan 2:28:49
2012 Atsede Habtamu Ethiopia 2:25:28
2013 Aberu Kebede Ethiopia 2:25:34
2014 Tirfi Tsegaye Ethiopia 2:22:23
2015 Birhane Dibaba Ethiopia 2:23:15
2016 Helah Kiprop Kenya 2:21:27
2017 Sarah Chepchirchir Kenya 2:19:47
2018 Birhane Dibaba Ethiopia 2:19:51
2019 Ruti Aga Ethiopia 2:20:40
2020 Lonah Chemtai Salpeter Israel 2:17:45
2021 Brigid Kosgei Kenya 2:16:02 (course report)

Entrants Statistics

The beginning line of the Tokyo Marathon is all the time packed to the brim, with each native and worldwide runners lining as much as run this unimaginable marathon. With 37,500 runners participating within the 2023 marathon, the occasion is common, seeing runners touring from each nook of the world to take part. 

The primary Tokyo Marathon noticed a powerful 25,000 runners collaborating within the full marathon, whereas one other 5,000 ran the 10K. These numbers have elevated annually, apart from 2020, when solely elite runners have been invited to run the marathon – this marathon noticed solely 165 finishes. 


Spectators come from close to and much to benefit from the festivities surrounding the Tokyo Marathon. Whereas it’s not possible to measure the variety of guests and spectators precisely, latest information present that no less than two million spectators lined the streets of Tokyo to look at their favourite runners, lend their help to these athletes braving the problem of the 26.2-mile run, or benefit from the festivities of the day. 

The Tokyo Marathon Expo is without doubt one of the largest commerce reveals in Tokyo and brings round 100,000 guests to town. The expo is a hive of knowledge for runners and spectators and has varied data cubicles, actions, meals, and leisure to maintain everybody busy and entertained. 

The Influence of the Tokyo Marathon on Communities

The Tokyo Marathon is without doubt one of the high occasions on the operating calendar and brings many guests to town to run, spectate, or benefit from the festivities round race day. It’s also liable for producing between $5 million and $10 million for town. This earnings sees accommodations, eating places, and shops obtain a big bump of their income.

Permitting charity entrants, the Tokyo Marathon efficiently raises greater than 350 million yen (roughly $2 million) for varied charities yearly.

The Tokyo Marathon and the International Operating Neighborhood

Named as one in all six marathons making up the Abbotts World Marathon Majors, the Tokyo Marathon is an particularly common race that sees native, nationwide, and worldwide runners signing as much as get pleasure from this prestigious run that’s identified for its quick, flat course by means of the bustling streets of town. 

The Tokyo Marathon attracts in entrants from all over the world, all hoping to cross the end line and accumulate their finishers medal. And with a handbag prize of $50,000 and the status of profitable a World Marathon Majors title, elite runners from virtually each nation flock to the streets of Tokyo to take part. 

Right here’s what the highest winners obtain for ending on the rostrum:

  • 1st – $50,000
  • 2nd – $25,000
  • third – $12,500
  • 4th – $7,500
  • fifth – $5,000

The money prizes are the identical for the boys’s and girls’s winners, one of many few marathons on the planet to take action.

The Tokyo Marathon Course and its Options

The Tokyo Marathon has undergone just a few course modifications since its inception in 2007 and now takes runners by means of some lovely suburbs and previous a number of well-known landmarks, together with the Tokyo Skytree, the Sensoji Buddhist temple, Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine, the Tokyo Station, and Tokyo Tower.

From 2007 to 2016, the course took runners by means of the next components of Tokyo:

  • Tokyo Metropolitan Authorities Constructing (Beginning line)
  • Tokyo Imperial Palace
  • Hibiya Park (End line for the 10K race)
  • Shinagawa
  • Ginza
  • Nihonbashi
  • Asakusa
  • Tsukiji
  • Tokyo Large Sight (End line for the total marathon)

This has, nevertheless, modified, and the brand new route adopted in 2017 sees runners passing by means of the next areas:

  • Tokyo Metropolitan Authorities Constructing (Beginning line)
  • Iidabashi
  • Nihonbashi (End line for the 10K race)
  • Asakusa
  • Koto (the midway mark)
  • Nihonbashi
  • Ginza
  • Shinagawa
  • Hibiya Park
  • Tokyo Station (End line for the total marathon)

The course is pretty flat and quick, permitting runners to clock good occasions (usually PBs) as they meander by means of the streets of Tokyo. With a downhill proper after the beginning of the race, there are not any main hills to be conquered for the remainder of the course. And whereas fatigue is pretty widespread from across the midway mark, runners can apply pacing to assist with stamina and endurance to complete the race – there are not any surprises ready round any corners.

From busy downtown Tokyo to the high-end procuring districts of Ginza and Shinagawa, there are an amazing many landmarks that make the run worthwhile for each runners and spectators and provides everybody an opportunity to benefit from the magnificence and historical past of this outdated metropolis that began as a fishing city within the early 1600s. 

Take a look at this gorgeous stay race footage from Kofuzi:

Crowd Assist and Cheering Sections

Crowd help is critically essential at marathons and may help inspire and encourage runners to push on and end the race, even once they’re drained and prepared to surrender. 

With advantages like these, organizers have created cheering sections the place spectators can collect to cheer on the runners. The Tokyo Marathon has many cheering sections, some with grandstand seating for longer waits, that are scattered all through the marathon. 

Right here’s the place you possibly can watch the Tokyo Marathon:

The Beginning Line

Be part of hundreds of spectators as you see the runners take off for his or her 26.2-mile race round one of many oldest cities in Japan. Seize a beverage and a few meals, and be part of within the festivities of race day from the beginning line on the Tokyo Metropolitan Authorities Constructing.

Yasukuni Dori

Positioned only a block from Shinjuku Station, Yasukuni Dori is a hive of exercise the place spectators line the streets to cheer on the runners simply earlier than the 3-mile mark.

The Imperial Palace

Positioned on the 5.5-mile mark, the Imperial Palace is a well-liked cheering part that additionally makes for an amazing photograph alternative. 

Shinagawa Station

Nice for many who use public transport to get to and from the marathon course, the Shinagawa Station cheering part has an amazing buzz and is the proper place for spectators to catch a glimpse of their buddies or members of the family operating the Tokyo Marathon. 

Ginza – The Midway Mark

Ginza is situated on the 13.1-mile mark and is within the extra fashionable and stylish a part of town of Tokyo. Additionally thought-about the procuring district, Ginza is simply one of many extra common cheering sections for the Tokyo Marathon. 


A synthetic island simply exterior Tokyo, Odaiba is an thrilling leg of the Tokyo Marathon that takes runners over a collection of bridges. That is additionally an amazing website for photographs, so head all the way down to Odaiba to soak up the sights whereas supporting the runners. 

Tokyo Station

That is the end line for the Tokyo Marathon and is the place one of the best motion takes place. From music levels to meals and drinks, the cheering part at Tokyo Station is by far the preferred (aside from the beginning) of the numerous cheering sections. 

Qualifying for the Tokyo Marathon

Participating in a marathon just like the Tokyo Marathon might be pretty difficult as areas are restricted, and several other qualifying requirements have to be met. 

Much like the opposite races within the World Marathon Majors, entry to the occasion is finished by a lottery system because the variety of entries exceeds the spots out there – by a significantly great amount. 

Listed here are just a few extra qualifying requirements to concentrate on forward of the subsequent Tokyo Marathon:

  • Entrants have to be 19 years and older on race day
  • The race have to be accomplished in 6 hours and half-hour
  • Qualifying occasions: Males – 2:32:00 and girls – 3:19:00
  • Entrants should submit their qualifying certificates between June and July of the yr earlier than the occasion date
  • Charity groups are allowed
  • Worldwide runners are welcome

To enter, you will need to run a licensed race and qualify inside the time restrict to your gender and age group, register on the occasion web site, and pay the doorway payment (23,300 yen for Japanese residents, 25,300 yen for worldwide entrants). Profitable candidates are notified by way of electronic mail. Entry charges are non-refundable and don’t assure your spot on the beginning line. 

Charity Groups and the Tokyo Marathon

Racing the Tokyo marathon

Organizers of the Tokyo Marathon put aside a minimum of 4 000 spots for runners of charity groups. Supporting 33 charity organizations, the Tokyo Marathon RUN with HEART program has a number of worthy causes to select from. 

Listed here are the classes to select from:

  • No Poverty
  • High quality Schooling
  • Local weather Motion
  • Zero Starvation
  • Gender Equality
  • Trade, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • Peace, Justice, and Robust establishments
  • Life Under Water
  • Life on Land
  • Inexpensive and Clear Vitality
  • Partnerships for the Objectives
  • Good Well being and Effectively-being
  • Clear Water and Sanitation
  • First rate Work and Financial Progress
  • Accountable Consumption and Manufacturing
  • Diminished Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities

There are three charity program choices out there for the Tokyo Marathon:

3,700 entries: first-come, first-served non-crowdfunding entries for runners who pay 100,000 JPY (round US $950).

300 entries: crowdfunding entry for the “Run with Coronary heart” charity for runners who increase essentially the most cash for the trigger.

1,000 entries: runners can work with Tokyo Marathon-affiliated charities and wish to lift no less than 200,000 JPY (round $1,900). Bibs are given on a first-come, first-served foundation. 

All funds raised help the 33 charities that belong to the RUN with HEART program, as they search to uplift the lives of the much less lucky. 

The Tokyo Marathon RUN with HEART program raises a minimum of $2.5 million yearly for charity as runners donate and lift much-needed funds for these worthy beneficiaries.

Coaching for the Tokyo Marathon

Operating a marathon requires sticking to a marathon coaching schedule that may vary from wherever between 12 to 24 weeks. Largely dependent in your race targets, health stage, and time out there for coaching, a great coaching program may help you put together for the Tokyo Marathon and the challenges it presents. 

It doesn’t matter what marathon you’re operating, the coaching fundamentals inside the plan stay the identical. You’ll must do common coaching classes that provide help to work in your mileage, pace, endurance, and general operating efficiency.

An excellent coaching program could have you figuring out or operating 4 to 5 occasions per week, with someday for relaxation and one for lively restoration. You’ll embody one future each week, and the space of this run will enhance every week. Your plan ought to embody two to 3 cross-training classes to enhance your lung operate and energy and to extend your V02 max price. 

Because the course of the Tokyo Marathon is basically flat, it’s thought-about a reasonably straightforward, quick run that can see runners push themselves to get a great time. Intervals and tempo classes enhance your pace and capability, so embody one pace session weekly. 

Your coaching schedule ought to enhance your weekly mileage by not more than 10% every week. Operating is taken into account a high-impact exercise, so that you don’t wish to do an excessive amount of too quickly as you run the chance of widespread operating accidents that may see you out of the race or not having the ability to prepare correctly.

Straightforward runs make up the majority of your weekly mileage and are finished at a straightforward, conversational tempo. These runs enable your physique to adapt to the pressure it’s being positioned beneath whereas working your muscle mass.

Cross-training is particularly helpful to runners, so embody low-intensity cross-training workouts like strolling, climbing, elliptical coaching, swimming, or biking to assist enhance your muscle energy and cardiovascular endurance. 

The final week of your coaching program ought to include extra relaxation days than the rest as your physique (and thoughts) repairs for the upcoming problem. This week is named taper week – relying in your plan and talent stage, taper week might be something from 7 to 14 days earlier than the marathon.

Good Diet Whereas Coaching

Sustaining a wholesome, well-balanced weight loss plan throughout a coaching block is significant. Each day vitamin ought to embody carbohydrates, entire grains, fruits, greens, and protein. Take nutritional vitamins and mineral dietary supplements if you should. Most runners have already got a longtime consuming routine – if it really works, don’t change it.

The place Can I Discover a Nice Coaching Schedule?

There are numerous assets you possibly can flip to when searching for an amazing coaching schedule for the Tokyo Marathon. A number of web sites have implausible coaching applications and might be chosen in response to the period of time you wish to put aside for coaching or based mostly in your aim ending time. 

These coaching applications are normally free to obtain and might kind an amazing base to your operating schedule, and you may make the mandatory modifications relying in your private wants. 

Life occurs, and a few may battle to stay to a coaching schedule. This is the reason dedication and dedication to your finish aim – finishing the Tokyo Marathon – are key to your success, and it’s best to go into this expertise with that aim in thoughts. 

Usually, deciding to do one thing might be tougher than really doing it, so be certain you might be prepared for the dedication and exhausting work it takes to run a marathon. 

If you would like a schedule that permits you to adapt it to fit your wants and availability, you might wish to seek the advice of a operating coach or private coach who can create a coaching plan based mostly in your state of affairs. They will observe your operating fashion and approach to supply recommendation for enhancements. They will additionally assess your progress weekly to make changes the place obligatory.

Races to Assist You Put together for the Tokyo Marathon

Operating just a few races may help you put together for race day, find out how race day protocol works, and decide in case your present coaching program is enough. Be part of an area operating membership, sign-up for just a few digital occasions, do just a few native races and use every expertise as a stepping stone to success. 

There are such a lot of 5K, 10K, and half-marathons to select from, so take a look at your native athletics membership information board or social media web page for data on any upcoming races you possibly can run to organize for the Tokyo Marathon. 

Different Sources to Assist You Put together

One of many key parts of operating a marathon is pacing. Overlook about endurance and efficiency for a minute as you contemplate the advantages of pacing in your run and your time. 

Races just like the Tokyo Marathon have cut-off occasions that must be adhered to, so you will need to tempo your self so you may have vitality for your entire distance whereas making certain you cross the checkpoints with sufficient time to spare. 

A operating tempo calculator might be an especially great tool to find out what tempo you should run (minutes per mile or kilometer) to make sure you cross the road in your aim time.

Race Day Methods and Ideas

It’s race day, and you might be on the beginning line of the Tokyo Marathon. What must you give attention to earlier than crossing that line and beginning the race? What tempo should you preserve, and the way can the climate have an effect on your efficiency? 

We have now these solutions, and extra, as we take you thru just a few race day methods and ideas that can assist you benefit from your run whereas experiencing the fun of collaborating in one in all solely six World Marathon Majors. 

What’s a Good Time?

Guidelines of the Tokyo Marathon state that runners should full the race in 6 hours and half-hour – the end line cut-off is 7 hours from the gun. This isn’t exhausting to do for those who’ve put within the coaching and is greater than sufficient time to complete the race.

Those that wish to end on the rostrum or set a brand new world or course report might want to up their recreation to complete nicely forward of everybody else. The present course information are as follows:

  • Males: 2:02:40 – Eliud Kipchoge
  • Ladies: 2:16:02 – Brigid Kosgei

Most of you studying this are doubtless not aiming to interrupt the course report however fairly run for the achievement and problem of the race. The typical ending time for the Tokyo Marathon is round 4 and a half hours. Most elite athletes intention for sub-2:30.

The Climate and Your Efficiency

A rainy Tokyo Marathon
A wet Tokyo Marathon in 2019, by way of Nicky Dugan Pogue

The climate can drastically influence your efficiency, regardless of the terrain. Fortunately, the terrain is pretty flat and quick, permitting runners to extend their pace on these lengthy flats. There are a few hairpin bends to control.

The Tokyo Marathon is run in March annually, which occurs to be spring. That is the proper time for a marathon because the air is crisp however not chilly, and average temperatures are noticed with the occasional showers. The typical temperatures for the Tokyo Marathon over the past decade are 41 °F (5 °C) to 54 °F (12 °C) – perfect operating situations.

Put on snug clothes, and convey a sweater or jacket that may be tied round your waist whereas operating or discarded on the aspect of the course when you’ve warmed up. If race day is chilly, pack in a beanie and put on lengthy however mild pants to maintain your muscle mass heat.

A terrific rule of thumb for operating apparel is to decorate for the climate after which take away the final layer you placed on. This can make sure you aren’t too heat whereas operating.

High Ideas for Runners of the Tokyo Marathon

Whether or not that is your first or tenth time operating the Tokyo Marathon, we’ve got some ideas that can make your expertise of operating one of the prestigious marathons on the planet an amazing one. Listed here are our high ideas:

Obtain the Runner’s Handbook

The Tokyo Marathon runner’s handbook is a good supply of knowledge for runners and consists of essentially the most important data wanted for race day. The handbook has every part from the place to gather your race pack to an inventory of no-nos for the occasion. Runners can obtain the handbook from the Tokyo Marathon occasion web site.

Eat a Carb-Dense Meal Earlier than You Run

Breakfast is crucial, and as no meals and drinks are allowed within the beginning space, it’s essential that you just eat a high-carb breakfast round 2 hours earlier than the begin to provide the vitality wanted to finish the Tokyo Marathon. 

Professionals suggest oats, bananas, pancakes, bagels, toast, peanut butter, fruit, and nuts. Select meals excessive in micronutrients to help your well being the easiest way doable, and seize just a few wholesome snacks on the hydration stations alongside the route. 

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Hydration is vital to stopping muscle aches and fatigue. Cease as usually as you should drink water and electrolytes, and carry gels to devour alongside the best way. As a result of the Tokyo Marathon is a Main marathon, it conforms to the necessities for support stations – there are not any scarcity of stops alongside the best way, so use them as usually as wanted.

Get Correct Sleep

Elite runners will let you know the significance of a great night time’s sleep earlier than a marathon. You need to get no less than 12 hours of sleep within the 24 hours earlier than race day, giving your physique the remaining it must tackle the problem earlier than it. 

Race Day Necessities

The next gadgets are important for the Tokyo Marathon:

  • Your race day bib
  • Your timing chip
  • A heat jacket
  • Comfy footwear (the footwear you’ve finished your coaching in)
  • A beanie
  • Sun shades
  • Sunscreen

For a full record of what it’s best to pack to your journey to the Tokyo Marathon, go to the Operating Coach website. The web site is filled with assets for runners and consists of recommendations on the place to remain, easy methods to get to the beginning line, and different important issues you should know. The knowledge has been compiled by world-famous athletes Paula Radcliffe, Viktor Röthlin, and Frank Shorter.

Subsequent Step: Run the Tokyo Marathon!

Fancy operating a marathon that takes you thru each the outdated and new components of Tokyo? The Tokyo Marathon does simply that, and sees runners journey by means of among the oldest neighborhoods, dwelling to the Imperial Palace, the upmarket procuring district of Ginza, and the Tokyo Metro Station. 

Willpower, dedication, and exhausting work are the order of the day for marathon runners, and this marathon will take a look at your psychological and bodily energy. And, whereas the roads are flat and comparatively quick, nothing can put together you for these previous few miles when your willpower and grit are examined. Nevertheless it’s price each step. 

Take inspiration from Mieke Gorissen, marathon runner and Olympic medalist, as she shares her ideas on operating the Tokyo Marathon: “Even when we don’t end within the high 100, don’t get a PR, or we end useless final, shouldn’t we give ourselves the room to be comfortable?” 

We are able to all agree that these are sensible phrases and the way we should always all strategy any marathon. So, what are you ready for? Join the Tokyo Marathon right this moment.



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