Information about the Tokyo Marathon 2024 for anyone involved.
Since Tokyo Marathon 2016, the wheelchair marathon race (T53 & T54) has been officially sanctioned by the World Para Athletics.
Additionally, since Tokyo Marathon 2017, the wheelchair race has been an official event of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) Wheelchair Marathon Race Series, for which the point system applies.
|Wheelchair marathon (Elite)
|World Para Athletics
|Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building -- Suidobashi -- Ueno-hirokoji -- Kanda -- Nihombashi -- Asakusa Kaminarimon Gate -- Ryogoku -- Monzen-nakacho -- Ginza -- Tamachi -- Hibiya -- Tokyo Station/Gyoko-dori Ave. (This course is certified by the JAAF, AIMS and World Athletics.)
|Men - 1 hours 50 minutes; Women - 2 hours
Wheelchair Race Director Masazumi Soejima
This year is the year of the Paralympic Games. Athletes looking ahead to the Paralympic Games of Paris starting on August 28th are formulating strategies and making preparations. As the Tokyo Marathon 2024 will be held approximately six months before the start of the games in Paris, many athletes signed up to take advantage of the event.
As for invited athletes, we called out the top ranked athletes from the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) Series XV. This included a total of 8 men (4 from overseas and 4 from Japan) and 8 women (6 women from overseas and 2 from Japan).
The men's race will feature top runners from around the world, without “champion”, Marcel Hug (Switzerland), who won the Tokyo for the second time in a row last year. Hug has taken the initiative and often won first place in many recent events. However, without Hug competing in the Tokyo Marathon 2024, it will be difficult to predict who will lead the race and cross the finish line first. We are hopeful that it will be an interesting race.
One of the invited athletes to gain attention is Daniel Romanchuk (USA), who finished second in the AbbottWMM Series XV. There are high hopes for Romanchuk to break the course record as he is a talented athlete who competes with Hug throughout many races. However, since Romanchuk is rarely seen to take the lead in races, it will be interesting to see what kind of strategy he will use to run in Tokyo without Hug.
Among Japanese athletes, we are paying close attention to Tomoki Suzuki (Toyota), who took second place in the Oita International Wheelchair Marathon last November, as well as Ryota Yoshida (SUS), who came in fourth place. Suzuki is ranked 4th in the AbbottWMM series rankings, while Yoshida is ranked 9th. How will the three players, including Sho Watanabe (TOPPAN), who is ranked 6th in the same ranking, interact with international athletes and developed the race? An interesting race is to be expected.
On the other hand, the women's race, perhaps more so than the men's race, will be unpredictable untill the very end, and must be kept a close eye on. For women, there has been a remarkable increase in record times, with a new world record set in Berlin last year and a new course record set at Oita International.
Invited athletes Manuela Schär (Switzerland), Susannah Scaroni (USA), Madison de Rozario (Australia), and Eden Rainbow-Cooper (UK) are ranked 2nd to 5th in order in the AbbottWMM Series XV. These are runners who always run the race together, and are so competitive that their positions change in the last sprint before the finish.
Please pay attention to what strategies AbbottWMM 6th place Tsubasa Kina (Ryukyu Sport Support) and 7th place Wakako Tsuchida (Will-Raise), both athletes of Japan, will use to break into the top ranks.
The Tokyo Marathon 2024 can be positioned as an important race in preparation for participation in the Paralympic Games of Paris. According to the requirements for participation in the wheelchair marathon event announced by the International Paralympic Committee, athletes must first meet the standard participation times (1:29:30 for men, 1:43:53 for women) within the period of October 1, 2022 to June 16, 2024, and enter the Paris Paralympic rankings.
Furthermore, the Japan Para Athletics has announced a policy that "a maximum of three athletes each for men and women will be able to participate in the marathon event," regarding the number of athletes to be selected within Japan based on this ranking. The final number of participants will be adjusted based on other events, so it is important to get as high a record time as possible within the above period and rank high in the rankings.
There are just over three months left for athletes to improve their records. While there are few officially recognized races held during the period, the Tokyo Marathon 2024, which is known as a high-speed course, should serve as a great opportunity. Rankings may change greatly depending on record times.
At the Tokyo Marathon 2020, Suzuki finished with 1:21:52, and Kina finished with 1:40:00. Both men and women settled the new course record. Afterwards, at the 2023 race held during the COVID-19 pandemic, the men's course record was updated to 1:20:57 by Hug, and the women's course record was updated to 1:36:43 by Schär. What kind of race will we see this year? Although it will depend on conditions such as the weather, we hope the athletes will be brave and take on the challenge.
We have set up two "gimmicks" this year as well at the 10km mark in hopes of helping the race set a new course record. One is the "AbbottWMM Bonus Point." Runners who pass this 10km point in first place for both men and women will earn 8 bonus points.
The Tokyo Marathon 2024 is the first race of the AbbottWMM Series XVI, and is an important race that will predict this season. As bonus points will also be added to race result points, they will be a step towards gaining an advantage in this season's series games, and will also have great significance in adjusting future race plans. An aggressive running from the beginning of the race can be expected.
For the other "gimmic" for breaking course records, the "Tokyo Marathon's unique sprint time bonus" was also set at the same 10km point. Prize money will be awarded to the top three men and women who exceed the 10km target time set based on each gender's world record. 1st place is 150,000 Japanese yen, 2nd place is 100,000 Japanese yen, and 3rd place is 50,000 Japanese yen.
The target times are 18 minutes 09 seconds for men, and 21 minutes 48 seconds for women. The target times are high goals as they are equivalent to world records, but since the Tokyo course is downhill for the first 5km, we expect athletes to attack aggressively and aim for this prize along with the "AbbottWMM bonus point."
Wheelchair races take place at high speed, so if you are watching from the roadside, racers might pass by in the blink of an eye. However, there are some viewing spots that we would like to recommend.
First is the starting point. Pay attention to who will jump to the front and take control of the race in the moment of acceleration from the start. The long downhill after passing through Shinjuku is a location where racers naturally pick up pace, giving the audience a sense of the speed and power that is unique to wheelchair racing. The 10km point that follows is also the aforementioned "bonus point", so it is likely that groups of racers will break up before this point, and the audience will see a fierce battle for the lead.
The relatively flat midfield is a part where some athletes may feel lonely. The voices of support and applause will be a great source of strength. And of course, the area just before the finish line is where we expect the most excitement. We hope that the athletes aggressively aim for the best time and run a competitive race until the end so that the audience can be excited throughout the race.
Another way to enjoy the race is to choose a racer to focus on and watch while imagining how the race will unfold. In the men's race, for example, pay attention to Romanchuk, and see where he sets up and runs away on his own. In the women's race, groups are often formed around Schär and Scaroni, so try to predict who will break out of the group by watching the movements of the athletes during the race.
As such, the Tokyo Marathon 2024 of the Paralympic year has a lot to offer. Please enjoy this world class wheelchair marathon race.
Born in 1970. At the age of 23, his spinal cord was injured due to an accident while he was working at the iron factory, which was his family business. Since then, he has been confined to a wheelchair, and learned about the disabled sports while he was in the hospital. He then started to be attracted to the fun of sports and started take up wheelchair marathoning.
Since 2007, he’s been participating in the World Marathon Majors races and has won many races, including Tokyo, Boston, New York City and Berlin marathons.
In April 2014, while still competing as a world’s top athlete himself, he established his own foundation to support the challenges of children in wheelchairs by providing them wheelchair racing opportunities, including his own coaching, which allow them to pursue the goal of becoming a world-class athlete.
|2007-2009, 2011, 2013
|Athens Paralympics 4 x 400m relay
|IPC World Championships in Osaka 1500m
|London Paralympic Marathon
|4th (Top Japanese)
|TCS New York City Marathon