第66回福岡国際マラソン選手権大会・The 66th Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship

Again I am writing about an old topic, but I think I was able to get some good pictures at the Fukuoka International Marathon last December, which I wanted to post. There are three “major” marathons in Japan, the “Tokyo Marathon” (東京マラソン), the “Lake Biwa Marathon” (びわ湖毎日マラソン), and the “Fukuoka International Marathon” (福岡国際マラソン). I am lucky to have such a “major” competition take place near my house. The runners pass by only 500 meters from my house. I love watching this race on television every year, but this year I wanted to definitely watch it at the start-finish line at the Heiwadai stadium (平和台陸上競技場), in the center of Fukuoka city, next to the ruins of the Fukuoka castle. As a runner, my dream would be to one day run in this competition. However, participation requires a finishing time of at least 2 hours and 42 minutes, so I think it is a little unrealistic, since my marathon time is just under three and a half hours.

The primary “television truck”

The 2nd “television truck” and “radio truck”

I took the above pictures in front of the Heiwadai stadium. In the top picture I am standing in front of the “Marathon Arch” (“マラソンアーチ”).

I got two flags, although I didn’t use them


The main stand of the Heiwadai stadium

I think I got some great pictures with my SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera

This year’s “top runner” was Haile Gebrselassie  (ハイレ・ゲブレシラシエ) of Ethiopia. In recent years it seems as though the “Fukuoka International Marathon” hasn’t been able to attract well known foreign runners. To be honest it seemed like there were a few well known Japanese runners also missing from the line-up this year. Even Fujiwara Arata (藤原新) was a “last minute” addition to the entry list.

Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge the photographs.



Haile Gebrselassie・Ethiopia (ハイレ・ゲブレシラシエ)

Among his many achievements, Haile Gebrselassie  (ハイレ・ゲブレシラシエ) has won two Olympic Gold medals in the 10,000 meter track in 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney). He has come in first place in 11 marathons. At the 2008 Berlin Marathon he set a new world record of 2 hours and 3 minutes and 59 seconds! Unfortunately Gebrselassie stopped running after thirty kilometers in Kashii (香椎), near Chihaya station (千早駅). It was really too bad, because I was hoping to get a picture of him crossing the finish line.


Kawauchi Yuki (川内 優輝), Fujiwara Arata (藤原 新), Dmytro Baranovskyy・Ukraine (ドミトロ・バラノフスキー)


Frank de Almeida・Brazil (フランク・デアルメイダ), Haile Gebrselassie・Ethiopia (ハイレ・ゲブレシラシエ), and Dmytro Baranovskyy・Ukraine (ドミトロ・バラノフスキー)


The start of the 66th Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship


The runners first ran nearly 3 laps around the track (a little over a kilometer).


Just before completing three laps the runners left the stadium and entered the streets of Fukuoka city

The big screen in the stadium

I could enjoy watching the marathon in the stadium. I could watch the start and finish, and I could watch the rest on the big screen inside the stadium, while enjoying my lunch and eating snacks. However it was a little cold.

The big screen in the stadium

The runners ran past my neighborhood. Here they pass by my local video rental store. (ビデオアメリカ)


The 10 kilometer point is near my local hospital. (白十字病院)

It was fun to see the runners run by where I had run so many times myself


The top runner, Joseph Gitau (ジョセフ・ギタウ) has returned!


Horibata followed 500 meters behind Gitau

The runners had to run around the track once before crossing the finish line.


Joseph Gitau・Kenya/Hiroshima (ジョセフ・ギタウ) came in first at a time of 2 hours 6 minutes and 58 seconds


Horibata Hiroyuki (堀端 宏行) came in second at a time of 2 hours 8 minutes and 24 seconds


Henryk Szost・Poland (ヘンリク・ゾスト) came in third at a time of 2 hours 8 minutes and 42 seconds


Fujiwara Arata (藤原 新) came in fourth at a time of 2 hours 9 minutes and 31 seconds


Kuroki Bunta (黒木 文太) came in fifth at a time of 2 hours 10 minutes and 8 seconds



Kawauchi Yuki (川内 優輝) came in sixth at a time of 2 hours 10 minutes and 29 seconds

Kawauchi has become really popular with marathon fans the past year, ever since he came in third in last year’s Fukuoka International Marathon. I think his constant effort to participate in as many marathons as possible and his fighting spirit inspire people. I also think his fans love to see him collapse at the end of a very hard fought race. His collapsing at the end has become somewhat of a popular event. I was hoping to capture him collapse at the end. However to my surprise, this time he was able to stay somewhat upright with some help.

Mohamed Trafeh・U.S.A. (モハメド・トラフェ) came in seventh at a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 41 seconds

Ryan Vail・U.S.A. (ライアン・ベイル) came in eighth at a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 45 seconds

Second place runner Horibata Hiroyuki (堀端 宏行)

I really loved watching the race at Heiwadai, and I definitely want to watch it there again next year.

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