Warm and dry weather promised for Sunday Naha Marathon
30,000 runners picked from a much larger number of applicants will line up behind the starting line at Meiji Bridge on Highway 58 in Naha to start the 32nd Naha Marathon. The weather forecast for the day is sunny skies with a probability of rain at 10% and temperatures up to 26 make conditions perhaps a bit challenging.
The Naha Marathon began in 1985 in commemoration of the 25-year sister-city relationship with Honolulu, Hawaii. The full marathon 42.195-kilometer course through the five cities and towns in the southern region of the island, including Haebaru and Yaese Town, then south to Itoman, and back through Tomigusuku and to the finishing line in Onoyama Park in Naha City.
The route has changed a little for this year towards the end of the course, mainly because of the changed traffic flows after the completion of the Tomigusuku and Itoman elevated bypass roads. The route now goes from Itoman Rotary past Tomigusuku City Office on Hwy 331, to Nakachi Crossing and left onto Oroku Bypass, then passes Tomigusuku Police Station on the north side, along Oroku Bypass past AEON Naha to Yamashita Crossing and then continues to the finish line in Onoyama Park.
Last year, 26,679 people started the course and 18,326 runners, 14,363 men and 3,963 women, made it through the finish line within the 6-hour time limit meaning 68.69% of the participants completed the race. Participants outside of the island and overseas accounted for over 40 % of all runners, totaling more than 10,000, which is a definite proof of the popularity of the race.
The Naha Marathon has grown to become the island’s premier race event, It has come far from the first race on Dec. 8th in 1985, when 5,139 runners battled the rain and 19.7C temperatures. Of those, 95%, 4,301, completed the race.