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The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship was awarded World Athletics Heritage status on October 3, along with six other marathon events.

Fukuoka is considered to offer one of the fastest marathon routes in the world. Many national records, personal bests, Olympic qualifying runs, and two world records have taken place at Fukuoka.

There are five other Japanese events to be honoured with the same distinction as Fukuoka was with the Heritage designation by the world governing body.

The event was previously known as the Fukuoka Men’s Marathon Championships and the first of its running was in 1947.

The current men’s record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009. There is a qualification process that keeps the entire field competitive.

Group A:

  1. Marathon: under 2 hours 27 minutes
  2. 30 km road race: under 1 hour 35 minutes
  3. Half-marathon: under 1 hour 05 minutes

Group B:

  1. Marathon: under 2 hours 35 minutes
  2. 30 km road race: under 1 hour 45 minutes
  3. Half-marathon: under 1 hour 10 minutes

Legendary runners, Toshiko Seko of Japan and American Frank Shorter have won the event three and four times consecutively.

The race happens during the first weekend of December each year. It is a legendary event, however, due to the qualification standards, is not a mass marathon like Boston, London, or New York. The race attracts just two to three hundred runners, which provides Fukuoka with its championship-style race identity.

Fukuoka is organised by the Japanese Association of Athletics Federations.

Visit the event website for more information, here>>