The Nagano Marathon, held in mid-April, is one of Japan’s nicest and best-known public marathons. It has always been popular, and recently has become even more so due to the Tokyo Marathon-fueled running boom. People who don’t get into Tokyo now try for mainly Arakawa and Nagano. The number of runners has been upped from 7,000 to 8,000 (accepted in order of application).
The course is flat (not in the mountains of Nagano) and pleasant. It has a lot of turns, so if you like an “interesting and varied” course, this is for you. The weather is generally good, last 3 years 16° C at the finish, (although probably warmer in the sun). Start is at 8:30. Time limit is 5 hours, with “gates’ every 5K (10.3K: 85 mins.; 20.8K:157 mins.; 30.1K: 225 mins.)
2008 race had 6,335 finishers, 217 international runners, 253,000 spectators, lots of water, sports drinks and bananas.
The point-to-point Nagano Olympic Memorial Course runs “through the city of Nagano and past the infamous Zenkoji Temple.” (They do not say why it is infamous.) “It passes by 4 of the Olympic venues used during the 1998 Winter Olympics and finishes in the Olympic Stadium.”
See Calendar for more 2009 race info.