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Tokyo Marathon 2018: Witness the Running Craze this February

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About a 2 million people line the streets of picturesque heavenly Japan to just cheer you and watch you run! 

What more would you wish out of a marathon?

The Tokyo Marathon takes place annually in the capital city of Japan. Not only has this marathon won itself a prestigious place in the world marathon majors, but it now serves as a trial race to some of the major races of the world including Asia Jakarta trials and Abbott World Marathon Major series.

With an incredible 20% of the Tokyo population witnessing the Marathon, one unique thing about running the Tokyo Marathon is the exclusive traditional and local atmosphere that breezes with you as you run.

Boasting of a course trail that symbolizes the past, present, and future of Tokyo, this marathon is definitely a favorite for the runners and the viewers alike.

History of Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo marathon 2007
Tokyo Marathon Expo in 2007

With a renowned history of 10 years, this marathon had been incepted in 2007. The first Tokyo marathon was held on 18th February before which the marathon was split into two marathons.

The 2007 marathon was also a representative selection race of the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka. The total number of participants was set at 30,000 initially out of which 25,000 people signed up for the marathon, and 5,000 signed up for the 10K run.

In all the marathons that have been previously held in Tokyo, the 2011 marathon was the first marathon that did not have a rainy weather. The 2011 Tokyo Marathon was held on Sunday, 27 February 2011. The marathon continues to create and break several world records every year becoming bigger and better.

Tokyo Marathon 2018

Tokyo Marathon logo
Tokyo Marathon - Are you ready for it?

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual sports event comprising of different types of races conducted especially for wheelchaired men and woman. The Tokyo Marathon 2018 on the 25th Feb 2018 counts the 12th anniversary of this event.

What makes running the Tokyo Marathon so unique?

Not only has this marathon made Tokyo proud but has made Japan the first and the only country in Asia to host such a large-scale marathon.

The organizers of this Marathon are Tokyo Marathon Foundation and Co-organizers cum broadcasters include Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Fuji Television Network Inc.

Running as a sport has always been amongst the favorites and participation is open to around 3 lakh people for both full marathon and 10km run race that easily get filled up. There are several other marathons and half marathons that get conducted through the year, but the Tokyo Marathon remains a success story in creating the excitement around the city.

Apart from the marathon, Tokyo proves to be one of the most eclectic cities around the world with attractions like Mt. Fuji and other famous tourist places.

The Tokyo Marathon 2018 acts as the selection trials for the 2018 Asia Jakarta Marathon Grand Championship Series, Team Japan Trials for Tokyo 2020 and Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI giving runners all the more reason to gear up and brace themselves for that qualifying run of their lives. 

Tokyo is home to the 6th and the newest of the Abbott World Marathon Majors in 2018.

Know about The Big Six: World Marathon Majors That Every Runner Dreams Of

The two key events at Tokyo Marathon 2018 are:

  • Marathon (Men, Women, Wheelchair Men, Wheelchair Women)
  • 10 KM Race (Men and Women for Junior and Youth, Visually Impaired, Intellectually Challenged, Organ Transplant Recipients and Wheelchair categories)

Sponsored by Tokyo Metro and other leading corporations and organized by the Tokyo Marathon Foundation, the Tokyo Marathon 2018 is definitely an event that one shouldn’t miss out on.

Here is all the information that you need to know about the Tokyo Marathon 2018

Entry and Registration Details

Details for Tokyo Marathon 2018

The entry for Tokyo Marathon happens for the runners through the general entry process and lottery system further to that.

For the general entry and registration, which now stands closed, runners who can complete a marathon within 6 hours and 40 minutes could have applied online from 10:00 a.m. JST on 1 August to 5:00 p.m. JST on 31 August 2017. After the general entry seats are filled, the entrants are selected through a lottery system for the remaining number of seats.

The lottery result for the Tokyo Marathon 2018 was announced around mid-September.

The entry criteria for different races is as follows:

  • Full Marathon: Age should be over 19 years on the day of the event.
  • 10km Race: Only meant for juniors and disabled categories
  • Run as One ‘Semi Elite’ Race: The qualifying times are: 2:21:01 – 2:45:00 for Men; and 2:52:01 – 3:30:00 for Women.

Applicants must meet the standard qualifying time in the races held in 2016 and 2017, which are: IAAF Gold Label, Silver Label, or Bronze Label Races and AIMS Certified Races.

The entry fees for the Tokyo Marathon 2018 is as follows:

Full Marathon:

  • Japan residents - 10,800 Yen
  • Overseas runners - 12,800 Yen

10km Race:

  • Japan residents - 5,600 Yen
  • Overseas runners - 6,700 Yen

Due to an overwhelming response, application for Charity Runners at Tokyo Marathon 2018 stands closed.

The criterion for the same was to raise a minimum of 100,000 Yen. With only 3900 slots saved for Charity runners, the designated slots were filled up by 8 July 2017.

However, there are still 100 active slots and if you wish to donate any amount, you can do so online from 1 July 2017 – 31 March 2018 on Tokyo Marathon’s Charity Website.

Registration desk Rules for the D-Day:

  1. Registration will finish at 7:30 p.m. on February 24 (Saturday).
  2. Registration for wheelchair users will be informed separately.
  3. There will be no registration on the day of the race (February 25 (Sunday))
  4. At registration, the participant's identity will be confirmed using photo ID (it is not possible to have someone else register for you on your behalf).
  5. Persons who cannot present photo ID for ID confirmation will not be able to complete the registration.

Races and Particulars for Tokyo Marathon

Elite Athletes at Tokyo marathon
RUN as ONE (The Elite Race)

Tokyo as a city has endless options to explore and has everything necessary to satisfy the fascinations of culture vultures, history buffs, tech enthusiasts and foodies alike.

The Marathon is hosting several races that are meant for all. Want to run the race yourself? Know the details here:

Full Marathon:

There are 4 categories of runners in the full marathon e.g. Men, Women, Wheelchair Men, and Wheelchair Women.

All time limits are based on gun time, not net time and there is a limit of 35,500 places for the full marathon. The course goes through traditional areas of Tokyo and modern ones as well. Participants must complete the full course within 7 hours for a full marathon and 2 hours and 10 minutes for the wheelchair marathon.

The time limit for Marathon and 10km are 7 hours and 1 hour 40 minutes respectively. For Wheelchair Marathon and Wheelchair 10km, the cut-off times are 2 hours 10 minutes and 35 minutes respectively.

10km race:

There are 5 categories of participants in the 10 km race category namely Junior & Youth, Visually Impaired, Intellectually Challenged, Organ Transplant Recipients and Wheelchair. Junior and youth runners of the age group from 16 to 18 years old on the day of the event are limited to 500.

The course runs through the 4 main locations. Runners must complete the course within 1 hour 40 minutes for the 10km race and 35 minutes for the wheelchair 10km race.

RUN as ONE (The Elite Race)

This run gathers roughly 300 semi-elite athletes from overseas.

It started in 2015 as a platform to gather different athletes from Japan. Since 2016, runners from other countries are open to compete in the Semi-Elite (Overseas) category. For running in this category, all applicants must have met the standard qualifying time in the full marathon races (42.195km) held in 2016 and 2017.

Run with Heart: The Charity Race

This run is meant for runners who are willing to run for a charitable cause. Around 3000-4000 runners take part in the race every year.

The cut-off time will be enforced at each checkpoint due to the limited duration of traffic control, security operation, and event operation. The runners, who fail to pass through the checkpoint before the cut-off time, will be disqualified from the race.

Furthermore, trailing runners who lag excessively behind the cut-off time pace may be asked to leave the course anytime.

Course and Route map for the Marathon

Course Map tokyo marathon
The fast paced Tokyo Marathon

The route of the marathon is a fast-paced and crosses several bridges across the river. Slightly downhill for the first few kilometers, the course is mostly flat with some inclines up and down.

The Tokyo Marathon route map has been traced as below for the year of 2018.


Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building – Iidabashi – Kanda – Nihombashi – Asakusa Kaminari – Mon – Ryogoku – Monzen Nakacho – Ginza – Takanawa – Hibiya – Tokyo Station/Gyoko-Dori.

10K Race:

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building – Iidabashi – Kanda – Nihombashi

 You can access the course map of the race here:

Marathon day Schedule and Events at the Expo

Wheelchair marathon tokyo
Wheelchair Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon 2018 is definitely a tourist’s delight as it is one of the most popular running events in Japan with over 3 Lakh runners applying to participate. 

The Marathon is scheduled for the 25th February 2018, Sunday, from 9 am onwards.

Runners can pick up their race packets from the Marathon Expo from 3 days prior to the race.

Here is the expo and the race schedule for the Tokyo Marathon 2018:

Dates for the Expo: 22nd Feb, 23rd Feb and 24th Feb 2018

Venue: Tokyo Big Sight West Exhibition Hall


  • 22nd Feb 2018: 11:00 am – 8:30 pm
  • 23rd Feb 2018: 11:00 am – 8:30 pm
  • 24th Feb 2018: 11:00 am – 7:30 pm

The schedule for 25th Feb 2018 is as follows:

9:05 a.m. - Wheelchair Marathon and 10km Start
9:10 a.m. - Marathon and 10 km Start
10:50 a.m. - 10km Finish
4:10 p.m. - Marathon Finish

Prize Money

The prize money for the marathon and the related races is based on the results, number of finishers and is awarded in accordance with a varied set of rules.

For the 10km race, the first three men and first three women will be awarded and the prize will be decided by calculating the net time between the start and the finish line.

For all the other categories including the full marathon and the elite race, the first three men and women will be awarded by calculating the net time by the gun fire timing.

Tokyo Marathon Qualifying Time

The Tokyo Marathon qualifying times are purely based on gun time and not net time.

Here is the cut off time for the different events that are scheduled to take place during the Tokyo Marathon 2018:

  • Marathon: 7 Hours
  • Wheelchair Marathon: 2hours 10 minutes
  • 10 Km race: 1 hour and 40 minutes
  • Wheelchair 10k race: 35minutes

The runners who fail to make it to the end point before the cut off time will be considered disqualified while the trailing runners can be asked to leave the course anytime on grounds of traffic, security, and event operation reasons.

Aid Stations

The race course is not only about the trail run fun and frolic but runners are taken full care of with plenty of aid stations that are located at every checkpoint during the course of the race.

Water stations are located every 3 km and are blue color-coded whereas sports drink stations are orange in color, located at every 6 km.

With a strong amino value sports drink, Japan offers its marathon runners a feast of delicious delicacies. Besides the standard water and sports drinks, you will find on offer trays of peeled bananas, cherry tomatoes, assorted lollies, refreshment mints and bread rolls that look like normal dinner rolls but turn out to have a creamy, chocolate filling.

If not so healthy, mouth-watering to say the least!

Logistics at Tokyo Marathon 2018

Runners in Tokyo marathon
Runners from around the world head to Japan

Talking about travel and other logistics, Sports Tours International is the proud official partner and travel operator for the Tokyo Marathon.2018. They have several city travel options and packages that guarantee an entry into the marathon.

For overseas runners, you can book connecting flights to either Narita International Airport or Tokyo Haneda Airport which are the nearest airport facilities for the Tokyo Marathon 2018.

The Tokyo Marathon, in collaboration with different travel and housing partners, ensures that the participants attending the event get a taste of Japanese hospitality. In terms of providing aid to the athletes, they have tied up with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co. To take care of transportation and the like, Tokyo Marathon 2018 has associated itself with All Nippon Airways Co.

Charity Initiatives Supported by Tokyo Marathon

RUN as ONE - Tokyo Marathon
RUN as ONE - Charity Initiative at Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon is not just a paid run for athletes but also runs various active charity programmes through which the runners can raise funds. It has a certain number of applications that had reached its maximum number of 3000 in 2016.

From Tokyo Marathon 2018, the number of entry places for charity runners will be increased from 3,000 to 4,000.

The Tokyo Marathon, as a proud member of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, will also introduce a trial charity program to further enhance the contribution to society.

Did you know?
The Tokyo Marathon Charity is collectively called as “Run with Heart” and the Tokyo Marathon continues to pursue its unique style of the charity program.

Winners of the 2017 Marathon

Tokyo marathon, as one of the world’s largest marathons, witnesses an increase in the number of participants and finishers each year. In 2017, the total number of participants were 35, 824 including the major marathon and 10 km marathon which was more as compared to 2016. The total finishers ranged somewhere around 34,400 out of which Wilson from Kenya set the marathon record and backed the first place in a net time of 2:03:58. Sarah Chepchirchir from Kenya completed the run in 2:19:47 and backed the first place in the women full marathon category.


Tokyo marathon questions
Know all the details for Tokyo marathon

When is the Tokyo Marathon 2018?
The Tokyo Marathon 2018 is taking place on the 25th Feb 2018 (Sunday), 9:00 am onwards.

How can I change my information after submitting the registration form?
You are not allowed to make any modifications in the information submitted, especially in the nationality and the race category.

Can someone else run in my place, if I am unable to?
No, substitute runners are allowed and anyone seen doing the same will be disqualified.

What is the age criterion for the marathon?
You must have turned 19 years old by the race day for the full marathon, or be between 16 and 18 years old for the 10 km race.

Are group entries allowed?
Group entries are not accepted in the Marathon.

How will the weather be during Tokyo Marathon 2018?
The weather is anticipated to be around 7 degrees Celsius, an ideal temperature for a good run.

Is the Tokyo Marathon certified?
IAAF has certified Tokyo Marathon as a Gold Label Road race.

Where is the starting point for the Tokyo Marathon?
The starting point for the Marathon as well as the 10k race is from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

Interesting Facts about Tokyo Marathon

  • The first official Tokyo Marathon was conducted in 2007
  • The 2011 marathon was the first marathon in which the weather was not rainy.
  • In February 2014, Dickson Chumba won a record time of 2:05:42 for the marathon and this was only the second time that a runner ran below 2:00:06 in Japan, after Tsegaye Kebede in 2009 in Fukuoka Marathon.
  • The Tokyo Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Marathon and is one of the six World Marathon Majors.
  • The last edition of the Tokyo Marathon was conducted on Sunday, February 26, 2017

Embracing runners from across different geographical backgrounds, The Tokyo Marathon is one of the most revered running events across the globe. From mere spectators to participating athletes, witness a one of a kind sporting event this February.

Come, partake in this wonderful race and be a part of history as you run past the picturesque landscapes!

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