On Saturday, March 2, the day before Tokyo Marathon 2019, the Tokyo Marathon Friendship Run 2019 was held at a special running course in the Symbol Promenade Park in Odaiba. The event is a fun run to extend a welcoming hand of hospitality to runners from abroad and provide chances for cultural exchange.
This year, 1,648 runners from 52 countries participated. In the plaza by the stage where the opening ceremony was held, runners in colorful uniforms and costumes could be seen taking photos with each other, building up excitement for the fun run. Many runners directed their phones to the stage as Yosakoi dancers performed, not wanting to miss the opportunity to record the moment.
At the opening ceremony, Mr. Tadaaki Hayano, Race Director/CSO of Tokyo Marathon Foundation made a short speech, followed by the introduction of the Race Directors for each of the Abbott World Marathon Majors races. Then the customary Japanese "Radio" exercise. Some participated enthusiastically while others seemed more interested in recording the unique moment.
Runners were divided into five groups, and started running with Mr. Shizuo ITO, President/CEO of Tokyo Marathon Foundation and guest runner Ms. Yu Nakamura (Tokyo Marathon Foundation Sports Legacy Program Ambassador) acting as starters. Runners ran the approximately 3.5 km course under blue skies and no wind, perfect conditions for running. Volunteers welcomed the runners with high-fives as smiling participants crossed the finish line.