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2021 Lake Biwa Marathon to Go Ahead Feb. 28

With race after race canceling or postponing, this week the organizers of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon announced plans for next year's 76th running to go ahead on Feb. 28, 2021.

A week earlier that its traditional date due to the Tokyo Marathon's move to March, the planned date comes with the caveat that, "depending on the future situation with regard to COVID-19, there may be changes to the race's operation, including the possibility of cancelation." 

But with that said, it looks like the organizers plan no additional restrictions on their event's field beyond the normal qualifying times and requirement for national federation approval.

In that past that has typically meant a field of under 200 finishers from Japan and abroad. For the domestic field, with no Beppu-Oita or Tokyo Marathon there's sure to be record-setting depth. as between Beppu-Oita, Tokyo and Lake Biwa this year 29 men went sub-2:10 and 50 sub-2:12.

For international men, if it actually happens Lake Biwa will be one of the only elite spring marathons in the world. In contrast to the 2020 Fukuoka International Marathon and 2021 Nagoya Women's Marathon, both of which restricted their fields to those already in Japan, Lake Biwa appears to be open to any internationals who meet the standards, have federation approval, and are willing to make the trip. 

At the moment immigration restrictions would prevent that from being an easy option for most nationalities, but as it works on its athlete COVID protocols for the Tokyo Olympics it's quite possible that changes to Japan's policies could open the door to a legit international field at Lake Biwa. With the race's application deadline standing at Dec. 31 there's just over 2 months for those changes to happen one direction or the other.

Major Japanese marathons still scheduled to happen in 2020 and 2021 marathon announcements to date:

Dec. 6: Fukuoka International Marathon (370) - scheduled with limited field size.

Dec. 20: Hofu Marathon (2,724) - scheduled with limited field size.

(10/29/2020) Views: 85 ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

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Macharia Ndirangu wins Lake Biwa Marathon; Shogo Nakamura leads Japanese in seventh

OSAKA – Shogo Nakamura led the Japanese runners in the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon on Sunday, finishing in seventh place behind winner Macharia Ndirangu of Kenya.

Nakamura finished the sunny Shiga Prefecture race in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 51 seconds, while Ndirangu crossed the tape with a comfortable lead in 2:07:53.

Kenyan Albert Korir (2:08:17) beat his personal best for second, and New Zealand’s Jake Robertson (2:08:26) broke a 34-year national record to finish third. Besides Korir, Nakamura and the top three runners were all making their marathon debut.

The result earned Nakamura a spot in next year’s Grand Championship, a qualifying race for Japanese runners for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I was desperate in the last kilometer because I didn’t want to miss (qualifying for the Grand Championships),” Nakamura said. “I was able to run with confidence since I trained hard.”

Masato Imai and Takuya Noguchi finished ninth and 10th, respectively.

(03/08/2020) Views: 457 ⚡AMP
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

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An assault of Wilson Kipsang's course record on tap at the 75th edition of the Lake Biwa Marathon

An assault of Wilson Kipsang's 2:06:13 course record from 2011 is on tap at the 75th edition of the Lake Biwa Marathon, a World Athletics Gold Label road race, in Otsu, Japan, on Sunday.

Three sub-2:06 and two sub-2:07 runners are in the line-up. Four of those have career bests faster than Kipsang's nine-year-old record. All of those performances came in 2019, suggesting that quartet is on top of their game.

The fastest in the field is Evan Chebet who clocked 2:05:00 in winning last year's Buenos Aires Marathon. Chebet has also produced sub-2:06 runs in Valencia, Berlin and Seoul and also finished fourth in the Tokyo Marathon with 2:06:42.

The next fastest is Filex Chemonges who broke the Ugandan national record with a 2:05:12 performance in Toronto last year. He has run three marathons and each time improved his personal best.

Felix Kiprotich, the third fastest in the field, won the 2019 Daegu Marathon with 2:05:33, and also has three more sub-2:07 runs to his credit. Samuel Ndungu, the Lake Biwa winner in 2015, improved his personal best to 2:06:02 in Lisbon last year. The final sub-2:07 man in the field is Dutch national record holder Abdi Nageeye who improved clocked 2:06:17 in Rotterdam, also last year.

Former winners joining Ndungu are 2018 champion Joseph Ndirangu and 2019 winner Salah Bounasar. Other contenders include Stephen Mokoka who was third in 2019 in 2:07:58, the second-best time of his career.

The race also serves as the final chance for Japanese men to win a spot on the Olympic Marathon team. To secure their spot, a runner must run faster than the 2:05:29 national record set last week by Suguru Osako.

The fastest among the five invited Japanese runners is Yuki Kawauchi, with a lifetime best of 2:08:14. Other high-profile Japanese include Takuya Noguchi, with a 2:08:59 best; Kohei Ogino, who's clocked 2:09:36; Shohei Otsuka, a 2:10:12 man; and Kengo Suzuki, who has a 2:10:21 best.

(03/06/2020) Views: 378 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

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The organizers of the Lake Biwa Marathon Ask People Not to Come Cheer

The organizers of the Mar. 8 Lake Biwa Marathon have asked people not to come cheer along the course in order to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

People involved with the race are being asked to wear masks and wash their hands, and alcohol disinfectants are being distributed as measures against infection.

The post-race award ceremony at a local hotel and an elementary school students' 1000 m track race during the marathon have been canceled in order to reduce the number of people assembled.

(02/28/2020) Views: 371 ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

more...
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2016 Rio Olympics marathoner 39-year-old Suehiro Ishikawa will retire from competition at the end of March

Japan's 39-year-old Suehiro Ishikawa, 2016 Rio Olympics marathoner announced that he will retire from competition at the end of the month.

At the time of the Rio Olympics Ishikawa was 36 years and 11 months old, surpassing 1996 Atlanta Olympics marathoner Hiromi Taniguchi's record of 36 years and 3 months to become Japan's oldest-ever Olympic marathoner. He finished 36th.

"Since I started running high school it's been 24 years," said Ishikawa at the press conference. "I've been with Honda for 17 years, and I made it all the way to the top, the Olympics. I'm glad that I've kept going this long.

Ishikawa ran the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon on March 10 but dropped out after only 10 km. It will be his last race of his career.

"It was the first time in my career that I'd ever DNFd, and I thought, 'OK, this is where it ends,'" said Ishikawa. Shortly after the race he made the decision to retire.

Beginning in April he will become an assistant coach with the Honda team. 

(03/22/2019) Views: 891 ⚡AMP
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

more...
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Bermuda Olympian and professional triathlete Tyler Butterfield will make his debut at the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon

Tyler Butterfield will literally run his way into unknown territory when he makes his debut at the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon in Otsu, Shiga, Japan.

The Bermuda Olympian and professional triathlete is scheduled to make his first appearance in the 26.2 mile race on March 10 and is under no illusion as to the enormity of the task at hand competing against the world’s elite runners.

“That will be an elite marathon so for me it’s my first one ever outside of Commonwealth Games and its going to be a calibre way above my limit,” Butterfield said.

“I think it was won in around 2:06 or 2:07 last year so I’m going to be 15-20 minutes behind.

“But it’s a great opportunity to run with some of the best guys in the world. It’s going to be a lot of people better than me and I can challenge myself.”

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, a male only competition, is one of the prominent Japanese races of the year and the country’s oldest annual marathon.

Butterfield warmed up for March’s commitment in Japan with a solid display at last weekend’s Bermuda Marathon Weekend where he placed runner up in the adult mile, International 10K and Half Marathon to capture the Half Triangle Challenge title at the first attempt.

“The Bermuda Race Weekend was awesome and just a great hit out for the Lake Biwa Marathon,” he said. “It was great to come back and do the mile, 10K and the Half because I’ve actually never done that before.

(01/29/2019) Views: 1,025 ⚡AMP
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

more...
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Jake Robertson sets a new New Zealand National Record at Lake Biwa Marathon

New Zealand runner Jake Robertson placed third at the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan today in 2:08:26 breaking the NZ national record held by Rod Dixon (2:08:59) for over 34 years. Jake has been training in Kenya, and has been described as a “white Kenyan.” This was his first marathon. In January he won the half marathon in Houston. The top four looked like this: 1. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya) - 2:07:53 - debut 2. Albert Korir (Kenya) - 2:08:17 - PR 3. Jake Robertson (New Zealand) - 2:08:26 - NR, debut 4. Michael Githae (Kenya) - 2:09:21 - PR (03/03/2018) Views: 1,260 ⚡AMP
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New Zealander Jake Robertson Long-awaited Marathon Debut Sunday

Jake Robertson (NZ), who has been training in Kenya will make his long-awaited debut over 26.2 miles when he lines up for the Lake Biwa Marathon Sunday, but the New Zealander faces a tough field at the IAAF Gold Label road race. As well as a strong international line-up, the race has plenty of domestic interest as it is one of the qualifying races for Japan’s 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials and an approved Project Exceed Marathon. The weather, however, could be a problem for the runners on Sunday with temperatures expected to reach 68F. Robertson has a half marathon PR of 1:00:01 which he recorded twice: at the 2017 Lisbon Half Marathon and at the 2018 Houston Half Marathon. He had been planning to make his marathon debut in Fukuoka last year, but he had to pull out just weeks before race day. (03/03/2018) Views: 1,265 ⚡AMP
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Japan’s Project Exceed Program has Japanese Runners hyped up...next chance to be a millionaire is Sunday

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon (men only) on Sunday in Japan (Saturday night at 7:30pm PST) promises to be a good one. This is a Project Exceed approved race too which means $93,000US bonuses will be paid out to any Japanese men who go sub-2:08. Defending champ Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) and fellow 2:06 men Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) and Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) are there to spur the fastest Japanese men on. Also running in his debut sub-61 half marathoners Jake Robertson (New Zealand) and Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) likely to be a part of the lead group. Warmer than usual temps may make it hard for a 2:06 race to materialize, but the best bet for a Japanese man to be in it at that pace is Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei), twin brother of 10000 m national record holder Kota Murayama and a sub-61 half marathoner doing his second marathon after an aggressive but ultimately unsuccessful 2:16:58 debut in Tokyo two years ago. Yuta Shitara is not running but his twin brother, Keita will be. Race info from Japan Running News (03/03/2018) Views: 1,096 ⚡AMP
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There has never been this much money put on the table for marathoners and their coaches

Japan's Project Exceed is continuing for two more years and already $1.5 million dollars has been awarded to Japanese runners, their coaches and clubs. The next approved race is this weekend, the Lake Biwa Marathon... The program was started in March 2015 and goes until March 2020. The idea of the program is to give incentives to Japanese runners to be competitive in the marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in fact to win the gold medal... To reach this goal, Project Exceed was established to encourage Japanese runners to break the Marathon National Record (men 2:06:16 and women 2:19:12). The new men's record is now 2:06:11 set by Yuta Shitara Feb 25 at the Tokyo Marathon and 160 million Yen ($1.5 million US dollars) was awarded through this program. The program also pays out 10 Million Yen to all men who break 2:06:59 and women 2:21:59. ... also 50 Million Yen to their coach or team if they break the NR...The same runner can only earn the 100 million yen once per year but the other 10 million yen ($93,000US) bonus money would be granted. This program has big sponsors behind it: Honda, Toyota, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, just to name a few. (02/28/2018) Views: 1,246 ⚡AMP
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Erekiel Chebii Returns and is the one to beat at Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon

Defending champ Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) returns to lead the field for the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. Chebii is one of three men in the field with recent 2:06 times, his 2:06:07 in Amsterdam 2 years ago leading Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) and Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) to form a clear trio of favorites. Making up the second pack are 4 current sub-2:10 Japanese men, 2017 Gold Coast winner Takuya Noguchi, Rio Olympian Satoru Sasaki, and Sasaki's teammates Takuya Fukatsu and Fumihiro Maruyama. (02/13/2018) Views: 971 ⚡AMP
Japan Running
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