26 Feb. 2012 - 36,000 athletes and two million sport enthusiasts on the streets of Tokyo
36,000 athletes turned out for Tokyo Marathon 2012 today at the vibrant Japanese capital, demonstrating the nation’s passion for the magnificent sporting event. An estimated two million supporters came out to offer their encouragement from the roadside, together with some 10,000 enthusiastic volunteers showcasing the city’s atmosphere of fun and excitement, regardless of nationality, gender, age or disabilities.
Kenya’s Michael Kipyego (KEN) topped the men’s field in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 37 seconds, outrunning former world record holder Haile Gebrselassie (ETH), who came in a disappointing fourth. In the women’s field, Ethiopia’s Atsede Habtamu (ETH) claimed gold, clocking 2:25:28. The men’s wheel chair marathon title went to Hiroyuki Yamamoto (JPN), while Wakako Tsuchida (JPN) grabbed her fifth consecutive title in the women’s wheel chair marathon.
The world’s top runners such as 2010 European Championships gold medallist Viktor Röthlin (SUI) and 2011 Amsterdam Marathon runner-up Eyerusalem Kuma (ETH) also competed along with local passionate amateur runners. A hundred elite male and female marathon runners joined from countries around the globe such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Italy, Russia, Ukraine and Brazil.
A well-established IAAF Gold Label Road Race since 2012, the Tokyo Marathon, received 283,988 applications this year – an oversubscription rate of 9.6, further underscoring Japan’s innate love for sports and Olympic events. This is combined with the marathon’s popularity in the country following the success of Japanese marathon runners and wheelchair racers over many years.
Tokyo 2020 CEO Masato Mizuno said: “The Tokyo Marathon is an extraordinary exhibition that demonstrates the remarkable power of sport and its ability to unite and inspire us all. I am proud to be a part of an incredible sporting city with the dynamic atmosphere permeating us all. The Tokyo Marathon is a great showcase of our hosting experience and I look forward to Tokyo playing host again to all our international friends in 2020.”
Tokyo Marathon 2012 showcased its spectacular city in yet another successfully run yearly event. Seamlessly integrated into the commercial, entertainment and residential fabric centre of the city, the Tokyo Marathon 2012 demonstrates the metropolis’s ability to host large-scale sporting events while coexisting with the general city traffic smoothly. With its runners, supporters, traffic controllers and largest urban police force in the world synchronized, Tokyo’s comprehensive experience and know-how in the field of mass transport continuously exemplifies its strong organizational ability.
The marathon course went through the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone as defined by the Tokyo 2020 Games plan. The course offered remarkable views of its innovative and top tier infrastructure, such as the Tokyo Tower and the newly designed Tokyo Sky Tree (a new symbol tower of Tokyo with a height of 634m), in addition to Ginza’s centuries-old establishments and trendy boutiques.
Marathon participants then headed to the waterfront Tokyo Bay Zone and the finish line at Tokyo Big Sight, an innovative convention centre that will be the venue for wrestling, powerlifting, fencing, taekwondo, boccia, and wheelchair fencing as well as the home of the renowned International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre (IBC/MPC) during Tokyo 2020.
3,000 charity runners also participated for the goodwill charity program “Tsunagu”, all donating amounts of 100,000 yen or more for the affected in the 2011 national tragedy. Half the total contributions collected will be distributed for projects aimed at the recovery of the affected areas through the “Tsunagu” program.