Record number of runners took part in Naha Marathon

The 30th Naha Marathon took place Sunday, with the full marathon course taking the runners through five cities and towns in the southern part of the island.

Of 26,905 runners that started at 9 a.m. at Meiji-bashi crossing in Naha, 20,029 crossed the finishing line in Onoyama Sports Park within the time limit. 74.44 % of runners, who started, finished the race, which surpassed last year’s event by 4.85%.

The winner this year was 27-year-old popular full marathon runner Yuki Kawauchi who is widely known as the ‘Civil Servant Runner.’ He was taking part as an invited guest runner. He completed the course in 2 hours 13 minutes and 43 seconds, which broke the previous record by 9 minutes 22 seconds.

The first to cross the finishing line among women runners was 40-year-old Mitsuko Hirose, who ran the course in 2 hours 48 minutes and 6 seconds. With this year’s win, Hirose has won the race three times in a row.

The highest temperature of the day was 20 degrees centigrade, and the skies stayed mostly cloudy, although the strong Okinawan sun sometimes beat down on the runners.  Families, relatives, friends and thousands of volunteers cheered the participants up from the sidelines.

This year, a lottery system for selecting runners to participate was adopted for the first time because the number of applicants exceeded 30,000. 40 percent of participants came from outside of Okinawa. Over 800 people from Taiwan ran in the race, which is an all-time record.