The Tokyo Marathon Family Run 2023 was held on March 5 in Tokyo's Marunouchi area. The event was created as a fun run for parents and children to enjoy together on the day of the Tokyo Marathon in order to give people of all ages the chance to experience the excitement of the Tokyo Marathon. After the marathon course was changed in 2017, the event was held the day before the Tokyo Marathon. But starting from the 2021 event (March 6, 2022), it returned to being held on race day. This year, a total of 353 pairs (706 individual athletes), including two pairs of wheelchair athletes, had great fun running the 1 km stretch of the Tokyo Marathon course from Marunouchi Naka-Dori Avenue to the finish line at Tokyo Station/Gyoko-Dori.
At the opening ceremony held prior to the marathon, M Takashi, a Tokyo Marathon Foundation's Sports Legacy Program Charity Ambassador who served as emcee and guest speaker, kicked off the event with a speech. Meanwhile, the Komazawa University cheer club Blue Pegasus pumped up the athletes with their supportive cheers. The three-part group comprised of leaders, cheerleaders and a brass band worked together to create a rousing performance for the athletes.
The starter was Tomomi Tanaka, a coach of the Dai-ichi Life Group Women's Running Team (official event sponsor) and representative for Japan in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics women's marathon. Before the starting gun fired and the 1 km fun run began, Ms. Tanaka told the athletes, "I want to see parents and their kids cheering on each other and everyone having a fun run! Let's get out there and do this!" The streets of Tokyo quickly filled with athletes having fun. You could see children sprinting out of the gate while their parents tried to keep up and families dressed in matching uniforms and even costumes. Special Support Runners from the Dai-ichi Life Group Women's Running Team also joined in the fun and ran the course.
Speaking to families who finished the race, third grader Haruharu said, "I've done a few kids runs, but the Tokyo Marathon's Family Fun Run is the funnest! We'll definitely be back next year!" Meanwhile, Haruharu's mom told the reporter; "Running the Tokyo Marathon course together will be an unforgettable memory. The waiting area changed from last year to be inside. It was so much warmer and you could tell that the organizers were being really considerate. One day, I hope to run the Tokyo Marathon together."
Two other third graders, Kaporin and Ruka, ran the race with their parents in costumes of famous characters. The pair excitedly gave their thoughts. Kaporin; "It was our first time but it was so fun! I felt like I could run faster!" Ruka; "This was our second time, but I ran even faster this time!"
Everyone surely won't forget all of the smiling faces on this early spring morning.
Thank you to all of the athletes who came out! We will see you next year!