How To Qualify For Tokyo Marathon

Runners always look for the next big challenge for them to tackle. Marathons are a great way to test the ability of certain runners as well provide a great thrill for them. 

The Tokyo Marathon is the largest marathon in Japan. The race attracts thousands of runners from around the world every year. This event has become a major social gathering point in Japan.

How To Qualify For Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is held annually. It’s one of the most popular events that take place in Japan. If you are planning to participate in this event, then you need to know how to qualify for it. You can find out more about qualifying for the Tokyo Marathon here.

What Is The Tokyo Marathon?

This is an annual marathon that takes place in Japan. It was first organized in 2007 and since then, it has been taking place every year. The name of the event comes from the fact that it takes place in Tokyo.

The Tokyo Marathon is the biggest marathon in Japan. It is also considered to be among the top marathons in the world. The course covers a distance of 42 kilometers or 26 miles. The route starts at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

How Do You Qualify For The Tokyo Marathon?

Although you may want to run the Tokyo Marathon, you will have to go through some steps before you actually get to do so. One thing that might confuse those who wish to join the Tokyo Marathon is if you have to qualify.

The answer to this is not straight forward so we will divide this into how to qualify and how to gain entry into this marathon. 

When it comes to qualifying for the Tokyo marathon this often refers to the RUN as ONE program which is associated with the Tokyo marathon.

The Run as One program is designed to give extremely good runners who are overseas a chance to run in the Tokyo Marathon as ‘Semi-Elite’. 

This program only has 300 participants so you need to be able to qualify to fill one of the spots. You need to have a certified finish time in an event that is Gold Label, Silver Label, Bronze Label, or World Athletics Platinum Label within the last year. 

The qualifying time for men is a full marathon run in under 2 hours and 45 minutes. For women, the qualifying time is a full marathon run in under 3 hours and 30 minutes. With your application, you must also submit an official finishers certificate. 

The other way to qualify for the Tokyo Marathon is in the Elite category. The Elite category is limited to 100 participants. To qualify for one of the 100 places, you need to be able to finish as one of the top 100 fastest people with the fastest time. 

However, you must also be registered with the Japanese Association of Athletics Federation and be either nominated or invited by the Japanese Association of Athletics Federation. 

In terms of qualifying for a place for the Tokyo Marathon, these are the only two applications where you need to qualify by time. 

How To Gain Entry To The Tokyo Marathon

Now that you know about the two ways you need to qualify for the Tokyo Marathon by your race time, here are the ways to get entry without qualifying by time. 

It is important to note that anyone can gain entry into the Tokyo Marathon as long as you meet the entry criteria. For general entry and local, the only requirement you need to meet is being at least 19 years old on race day.

We should also let you know that on race day there is a 7-hour cut-off window, not only at the start of the race but also at each checkpoint. 

There is also the option of joining the Tokyo Marathon if you are a Tokyo resident. Places for Tokyo residents are limited to 1000 places. However, Tokyo residents do have the option of registering early to join the Marathon. 

There is also a way to gain entry which is known as the One Tokyo Premium Member. This only has 3000 places to be taken.

The reason for this type of entry is to give a chance to those who have tried to register and failed to get a place, three years in a row. However, in order to enter through this, you need to be a Japanese member of the One Tokyo club. 

For the Tokyo Marathon, there is also the option to gain entry through a charity. There are usually up to 5000 places available to those who are joining through a charity. 

In the past, they have allowed up to 3700 people who want to run, to pay a high fee as a donation. However, this is on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. This is part of the Run with Heart program.

Also with Run with Heart, you can gain entry by being one of the top 300 highest donations. The people in the top 300 will get a spot immediately. 

There are also 1000 places available for certain charity partners to use. However, the people who are representing that charity must meet the minimum amount raised. 

The registration time in the past has opened in August. It is usually expected that around 300,000 people register. However, there are usually only 35,000 places available. 

Is The Tokyo Marathon Hard To Get In To?

Is The Tokyo Marathon Hard To Get In To

If you are serious about running in the Tokyo Marathon then we suggest you take a deep breath and be patient. If you really want to run in the Tokyo Marathon, then it is possible. However, it might take you a few attempts before you are successful 

You need to understand that getting into the Tokyo Marathon is like trying to get into Harvard University. There are so many people that register and only a limited amount of spaces available.

The Tokyo Marathon is considered to be one of the hardest marathons to get into. 

Things To Know About The Tokyo Marathon 

Now that you know how to qualify and are aware of how difficult it can be to get into the Tokyo Marathon, it is time to discuss some things you need to know if you get into the marathon. 

Time Restrictions

We mentioned before that there is a cut-off time for the race, this is 7 hours but officially on the website it is 6 hours and 40 minutes. However, it is important to note that there is a cut-off time at every checkpoint as well. 

This means you will have to reach each checkpoint by a certain time in order to complete the marathon. 

Lack Of Blue Line

Another thing to note is that there is no blue line. For those of you unfamiliar with the blue line, it is essentially a line that tells you the most direct course and the fastest course for you to take.

Without this line, it is possible that you will end up running a bit more than expected. 

No Drinks Or Food Allowed Through Security

When entering the race, you will not be able to bring any drinks or food items through security. You will have to leave these behind.

However, don’t worry because once you are inside you can fill up your empty water bottles and there are snacks available. 

It is important to note that there is water available every 5 kilometers of the race. This might seem like a long way till you reach your next water station so you may want to prepare for that before.

The Race Is Measured In Kilometers

If you are a runner who is used to working with miles, you may want to familiarize yourself with kilometers. This race only has signs that tell you what kilometer you are currently at.

There has been a mile sign put up at the halfway point but the rest of the race is in kilometers. 

Final Thoughts

So when it comes to qualifying for the Tokyo Marathon, you may not actually need to! Qualifying for this marathon only occurs if you want to be considered a semi-elite or an elite runner.

For this, you would need to have proof of your running ability or be one of the fastest runners. 

However, the Tokyo Marathon is a race that is open to the public. This means you only need to meet the age requirements in order to register for this race.

Of course, along with that on the race day, you need to complete the marathon within a specific time frame to be considered as someone who ran the Tokyo Marathon. 

The main difficulty runners will find when trying to enter the Tokyo Marathon is actually getting a spot. The marathon is largely oversubscribed meaning a lot of people do not get entry into the race. 

We hope that this article has made you aware of what you need to do in order to successfully enter or qualify for the Tokyo Marathon. Please share this guide with anyone else who wants to run this race. Thank you for reading!

Megan Rinzel
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