Sunday’s Tokyo Marathon will cause road closures, officials warn

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Tokyo residents and visitors to the capital will face road closures starting early Sunday morning due to the 12th annual Tokyo Marathon.

The Tokyo Marathon Foundation, the event’s organizer, said 36,000 people will take part.

The runners will depart from a plaza in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters in Shinjuku Ward and pass through districts including Kanda, Nihonbashi, Asakusa, Ryogoku, Ginza and Hibiya.

The main race will start at 9:10 a.m., but areas surrounding the metropolitan government buildings will be closed to traffic from 6 a.m. Yasukuni-dori, Chuo-dori, Kiyosumi and Hibiya avenues will also close at specific times. Organizers advise drivers to plan their routes in advance to avoid closures.

The race will finish on Gyoko-dori near Tokyo Station and the area around the finish line will be closed to traffic until 9 p.m.

The use of drones in the vicinity of the course is prohibited under aviation laws.

While elite runners are likely to finish the race in a little over two hours, other runners are expected to complete the race within a time frame of six hours and 40 minutes.

Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, the 35-year-old bronze medalist at the 2012 Olympics, finished last year’s race in 2:03.58, a record on a Japanese course. He is expected to attempt to beat the world record once again in this year’s race.

A 10-kilometer race will take runners through the streets of Iidabashi, Kanda and Nihonbashi.

Participants will compete in various categories, including one for top runners who performed well in nationwide races and another for wheelchair users.

Other racers will be running for charity, including brain scientist Kenichiro Mogi, who will be raising funds for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

Since 2013, the Tokyo Marathon has been an approved member of Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series taking participants to six cities. It starts in Tokyo and is followed by Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

To help participants and spectators get into the marathon mood, a series of events have been taking place at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center in Koto Ward, where visitors can try out the latest running gear and apparel. The event will run through Saturday afternoon.