12 March 2021
Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon
On February 28, the 76th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon was held under our major sponsorship. As a person involved, I watched the race on-site. It was a historic race where Mr. Kengo Suzuki set a new Japanese national record.
I heard that this year's race had attracted a much larger number of entries than last year, and I saw some runners with a number higher than 400. It has been decided that the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon will be integrated with the Osaka Marathon from the next race. The increased number of entries may be explained by the fact that this was the final race held along Lake Biwa and that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically decreased the number of marathon races that can be actually held. Although no spectators were admitted to the Ojiyama Stadium, which was set as the start and finish of the race, I found the stadium's atmosphere packed with the runners' and other related people's passion for the race.
The race was held amid fine weather and a mild temperature with little wind, the ideal conditions for a marathon. I was waiting for the runners to cross the finish line while watching the race on TV in a waiting room. During the first half of the race, we just enjoyed watching the athletes running at a better pace than in usual years. However, with the pace kept even after the race passed its midpoint, we became excited at the possibility that the national record would be broken. I also moved to the finish area to wait for the moment. Mr. Suzuki returned first to the stadium and crossed the finish line with a time of 2:04:56, breaking the barrier of 2:05 for the first time for a Japanese marathoner. He accomplished the amazing achievement of eclipsing the national record, which Mr. Suguru Osako held, by over 30 seconds.
After Mr. Suzuki finished the race, I presented him with a laurel crown. I feel very honored that I was part of the historic moment. I also feel very proud that the wonderful record was established in a race that our Company supported as the major sponsor. Moreover, I feel glad that not only the winner Mr. Suzuki but also four other Japanese runners finished the race with times that are included among the 10 fastest times clocked by Japanese male marathoners to date. In addition, four runners participated in this race from our Athletics Club. Among them, Mr. Kazuki Muramoto and Mr. Yuki Nakamura broke their own personal records. Mr. Muramoto, in particular, took 11th place with a time of 2:07:36, which is, surprisingly, nearly 10 minutes faster than his previous personal record. I am looking forward very much to these athletes continuing to demonstrate their talent in the future.
Despite various restrictions on training amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon was a wonderful race thanks to the participating runners' sustained efforts, the strong determination of the runners and those involved to do their best in the final race held along Lake Biwa, and the favorable weather conditions. The race will be deeply inscribed both in the history of Japanese national records in the men's marathon and in people's memories. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to the local people who supported the race, those involved in the race, and to all the participating runners. Thank you very much.