65th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon: When Hot Spring Meets Marathon Running
When one hears “Beppu” in Japan, images of onsens, or hot springs, spring to mind. Located in Oita Prefecture, Beppu boasts a wide variety of hot springs, each offering a unique experience. One could be buried in black sand, warmed by the heat of the hot springs, or lying on a bed of local herbs spread on a heated floor in a stone hut—the possibilities are mind-boggling!
A dip in a hot spring before or after a run is perfect for stimulating blood flow to your muscles. That’s what avid marathoners have been doing for the past 65 years at the annual Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.
The single 42.195 km full marathon event will take place on Sunday, 7 February 2016. Geared towards experienced runners, participation is strictly limited to runners aged 20 and over who have finished a JAAF or AIMS-approved marathon in at least 3 h 30 min.
Distinguished local and international runners are invited to take part in the IAAF Silver Label Road Race. Avid runners from all over the world will get to mingle with one another at the Runners’ Plaza launched on Saturday, 6 February 2016, the day before the marathon at the Beppu International Convention Plaza.
A prestigious run with a long history, the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon is also the final selection race for the Japanese national team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in the visually impaired marathon category.
This year, the JAAF-certified marathon will use a new route, making it a flatter and faster course. More than 2,000 JAAF-registered and general participants will start at noon from the front of Umitamago (Oita Marine Palace Aquarium), near the base of Mt Takasakiyama.
Following the road around Beppu Bay, marathoners will make a U-turn at the Beppu Kamegawa fishing port, just after the 10 km mark. At the midpoint, they will pass by Tanoura Beach and will cross Oita River before the 30 km point, before finishing in Oita Athletic Stadium.
Prizes will be awarded to the top ten men and first three women marathoners, as will the leading three male and female visually-impaired athletes.
Whilst registration for the 65th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon has closed, you could still sign up for the 13th Betsudai Walk and enjoy the sporting atmosphere as a participant and spectator.
Also held on the same day on Sunday, 7 February 2016, the 7 km and 16 km walks are open to anyone of all ages. Entry fees are JPY 1,500 for general participants who are in junior high school or older, and JPY 500 for elementary school children or younger. Registration closes on 25 January 2016.
Starting simultaneously as the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, the Betsudai Walks will be at a Tanoura T-wave special venue. Walk participants will be able to cheer the marathoners on as the latter pass through the walk area.
After your walk, take advantage of the pufferfish lunch specials in stores near the marathon area. Then visit the famed Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden, where 1,200 wild Japanese macaques roam.
Have you tried dipping into a hot spring before or after a race? Make it part of your bucket list for 2016!