As a so-called “business-to-business company,” we have seldom sponsored large events so far. However, I would like to take this opportunity to promote the 68th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, which is to be held in Shiga Prefecture where one of our group companies is located. We have decided to support the event as the main sponsor because of the great care that is taken over environmental consciousness.
The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon is Japan’s oldest marathon race. Winner of the 16th and 20th competitions was Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia, who was the first marathon runner to win a gold medal in two consecutive summer Olympic Games. Previous winners of this race include outstanding runners such as Frank Shorter as well as Kenji Kimihara and Akio Usami from Japan. The winner of the 66th race was Wilson Kipsang, who won the bronze medal in the men’s marathon at the London Olympics held this summer.
The 68th race will begin on March 3 (Sunday) in 2013 at 12:30 p.m. at Ojiyama Athletic Stadium in Otsu, Shiga, and the course includes roads to the south of the lake commanding historic views of Hamaotsu Town and Ishiyama Temple. Although who will compete in the race has not been made public yet, since the competition doubles as a trial for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics to be held in Moscow next year, it is expected that the event will draw many competent runners both from Japan and abroad.
According to The Histories by Herodotus, at the Battle of Marathon in the Persian Wars taken place in the fifth century BC between the Greeks and the Achaemenid Persian Empire, the Athenians drove back an attack from the Persians who had landed at Marathon. An Athenian soldier was sent to announce the Greek’s victory and ran from Marathon to Athenai, approximately 40 km away. Upon arriving in the suburbs of Athenai, he announced “We were victorious” and promptly died of exhaustion. Based on this legend, a 40 km race from Athens to Marathon was held in the first Olympic Games in 1896, marking the beginning of the history of the modern marathon.
We would like to provide our finest support for the 68th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, hoping that the race will serve as an excellent opportunity for participating runners, and that the event will help Shiga Prefecture and Otsu City further invigorate their tourism-related efforts and environmental conservation initiatives.