Association of International Marathons and Distance Races

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Race previews Kobe Marathon

02 July 2024, 10am

“In Kobe we run for others”

Strangers can become friends

Kobe Marathon
Sun 17 November 2024

Kobemarathon 11

The Kobe Marathon, held in a city just 20 minutes away from Osaka by train, is one of the largest marathons in Japan.

Kobe can be considered as the birthplace of the marathon in Japan. Taking place every year in November, it features a certified course sanctioned by World Athletics/AIMS where 20,000 runners traverse the city’s streets.

The theme of the Kobe Marathon is “Thanks & Friendship.” It goes without saying that runners run for themselves but more importantly in Kobe we aim to run for others as well.

Hyogo and Kobe have achieved creative reconstruction after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. These cities have provided the experiences and lessons of the event to disaster victims around the world on the basis that all people are friends and share joys and sorrows.

The desire to offer hospitality to visitors to Hyogo and Kobe also springs from the consciousness of companionship and community. Marathon runners share the joy of finishing the run and achieving their goals.

We would like to increase the power of such a marathon so that it sends cheerfulness to the people and regions that have been badly affected by disasters.

The race attracts participants not only from Japan but also from overseas – particularly from East Asia including Taiwan and Hong Kong. Around 2000 international runners are expected in the 2024 edition. The Kobe Marathon PR Ambassadors contribute to the excitement surrounding these participants.

The ambassadors include well-known Japanese influencers Takaya Mitsuka and Miki Shimura, alongside influencers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, and China. They will participate in the Kobe Marathon and share their experiences of the event.

Approximately 20,000 people gather from all over the country and overseas to participate. They run through the city enjoying the sights of Kobe. The race starts in front of city hall where the stone monument commemorating Japan’s first marathon in Kobe stands. The course winds its way through the streets of exotic Kobe in which urban sophistication is balanced by the natural beauty of the sparkling Seto Inland Sea with the Rokko Mountain Range behind. Along the scenic coastal route lies the world’s largest suspension bridge, the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, stretching majestically along the coastline. Except for the Kobe-Ohashi Bridge, towards the end, the course remains relatively flat, with the Kobe-Ohashi Bridge climbing about 25 metres.

There is a 7-hour cutoff so it’s possible for beginners to complete the run. Crowds of well-wishers line the entire course to cheer the runners on, reflecting the marathon’s theme of “Thanks & Friendship”.

Plans are underway to change the course from next year so this year it may be the last chance to experience the passage over the Kobe-Ohashi Bridge. After the course changes are made the route will be flatter and faster to facilitate record-breaking performances.

This year’s event is scheduled for Sunday 17 November 2024. International entries will be accepted until Monday 19 August.

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