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Running news

29 March 2021, 10am

Discontinued after 75 years

Fukuoka Marathon will be final edition

by Brett Larner

The 2021 Fukuoka International Marathon will be the race's 75th and final edition. The men-only race has been known since the 1960s as one of the fastest courses in the world.

The Japanese Federation (JAAF), which takes charge of the event, cited a loss of sponsors and the high cost of producing the television broadcast as factors contributing to the discontinuation of the race. The JAAF plans to make an official announcement soon.

Translator’s note: Following the end of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon last month Fukuoka International is the last of the purely elite-only men’s marathons left in Japan. Lake Biwa will be incorporated in name into the Osaka Marathon starting next year, like the Tokyo International Marathon was incorporated into the current Tokyo Marathon in 2007. The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon remains but opened up to mass-participation runners and women years ago.

On the women’s side the Nagoya International Women’s Marathon likewise opened up to mass-participation runners years ago, rebranding itself as the Nagoya Women’s Marathon. The Tokyo International Women’s Marathon was pushed out by the Tokyo Marathon, relocating to Yokohama before being pushed out again by the mass-participation Yokohama Marathon and relocating to Saitama before being discontinued last year.

Fukuoka’s passage means that January’s Osaka International Women’s Marathon will be the last-remaining race in Japan’s once-proud circuit of elite-only races. With the Osaka Marathon moving to the end of February next year, four weeks after Osaka International’s traditional date, it’s hard not to see the writing on the wall.

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