Nagano City Athletic Park. A gun fires at 8:30 a.m. sharp. Bracing the pre-race jitters that all athletes face in ages past, marathoners will hit the ground running. Dashing past the same spectacular venues used during the 1998 Nagano Olympics, marathoners will eventually reach the climax of the race: the triumphant finish at an actual Olympic Stadium.
Keeping the excitement of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games ringing in the hearts of residents and runners everywhere, the annual marathon now held every spring will host its 17th edition this year. Advocating the development of regional sports, culture and the Olympic movement, the Nagano Marathon also provides a unique platform for amateurs and world-class athletes to run together.
On Sunday, 19 April 2015, a staggering 10,000 athletes, be they Japanese, international, invited or open runners, will get a brush of the grandeur of an Olympic event. These privileged runners will pass through the eventful streets in Nagano’s city area. Upon crossing the Sai River at the 20km mark, they will continue along or near the Chikuma River, the longest and largest river in Japan. Throughout the race, they’ll appreciate this area’s nickname, the “Roof of Japan”—located in the centre of Japan, Nagano Prefecture is nestled by 3,000 metre tall mountains on all four sides.
Pick delicious, juicy apples and fill your baskets with a variety of other sweet fruits. Try your hand at making buckwheat soba noodles with fresh, clean mountain water—apparently, Nagano is synonymous with Soba noodles. There are still many more amazing things you could do while you’re here, too.
If you missed out on sign-ups, you can still relive the Nagano Marathon in the comfort of your home and watch this course movie. You can also read more about the current and past Nagano Marathons on their official website.