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Special Feature
Newsletter "SEI WORLD" 2017 Vol. 473

72nd Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon 3.5 sun 12:30 START!

What is the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon?

Marathon Race Boasting Japan’s Oldest History and Tradition!

First held in 1946, the marathon race takes place annually and boasts its 72 years of history and tradition. Although until the 16th competition the race was held in Osaka Prefecture, the venue was changed to Shiga Prefecture for the 17th competition, mainly to improve the event environment. The 18th and 19th competitions (in 1963 and 1964, respectively) were held in Tokyo as rehearsals for the Tokyo Olympic Games, using the running course to be used for the Olympic Games. In addition, the 49th competition took place in Hiroshima as a rehearsal for the Asian Games. From then through today the race has been held in Shiga Prefecture

Marathon Authorized as “Gold Label”!

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) classifies major road races in the world into the three categories of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Labels, based on criteria that include guest runners’ records, and TV and other media broadcasting scales. The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon has set very strict competition qualifications (e.g. competitors in the full-marathon must have a recorded time of 2 hours 30 minutes or faster). In addition, the race is aired throughout Japan and in approximately 100 overseas countries. Accordingly, the event has been authorized as a Gold Label race.

Other Gold Label races in Japan are the Tokyo Marathon, Nagoya Women’s Marathon, and Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship, while those in other countries include the New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon, and London Marathon.

Marathon Doubling as a Trial for World Meets!

Often doubling as a trial for the Olympic Games and the men’s marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, this marathon is characterized by an annual participation of many competitive runners from both Japan and abroad. The 72nd competition will be one of the trials for the 16th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, which will take place in London in August 2017.

Event Profile

Sunday, March 5, 2017 (Start: 12:30 JST)
Marathon Course 42.195 km
Ojiyama Stadium → Yanagasaki → Setakara Bridge (West) → Ishiyama Temple → Seta River Weir → Setakara Bridge (East) → Rowing Park → Shin-Seta Water Purification Plant (Turning Point) → Ojiyama Stadium
Planned Broadcasts
NHK General TV / NHK Radio 1
On air at 12:15

Wishes of Sumitomo Electric as an Official Sponsor
— Sumitomo Electric is an Official Sponsor of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon —

Positioning environmental conservation as one of our key management issues, at Sumitomo Electric we work on efforts to prevent global warming, save resources, and promote recycling, as well as provide products that are environmentally friendly (eco-minded).

Feeling sympathetic toward this competition’s active commitment and philosophy toward environmental conservation, we have been sponsoring the event since 2013. By sponsoring the race with an established history and tradition, we would like to continue our support for sports, establish harmonious relationships with local communities, and contribute to environmental conservation.

Marathon Held with the theme of “Environmental Conservation”!

Held under the theme of “environmental conservation,” this marathon serves as an opportunity for people to learn more about the significance of environmental conservation through a wide variety of events. Let’s look at two events organized by Otsu City.

January 29, 2017
Renaissance around the Lake — Otsu Reed Operation —

Photo: Courtesy of Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd.
Photo: Courtesy of Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd.

Reeds will be cut down by hand to conserve reed habitat, which helps to improve the water quality around Lake Biwa.

Reeds are home to various fish and a place for them to lay eggs. In addition, the plant helps improve water quality by absorbing nitrogen and phosphorus. Mature reeds are cut down in winter, which encourages new reeds to sprout in spring. Some of the cut reeds will be used as torches, all of which will be lit simultaneously in a ceremony to usher in the spring season.

February 19, 2017
Seta River Walking Event

Photo: Courtesy of Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd.
Photo: Courtesy of Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd.

Two weeks before the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, a clean-up campaign will be held in which participants will walk around the lake and also along the Seta River, which is the only river flowing out from the lake. The clean-up campaign will also serve as a walking event, whose 15 km course will follow part of the course for the marathon race. Open to everyone, this event attracts about 500 participants every year.

While providing an opportunity to appreciate the blessings of the nature of Lake Biwa and the Seta River, the event strives to help raise people’s awareness of cleaning-up and conserving the environment.

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