Tokyo Marathon Start Line

Race Guide: Tokyo Marathon

There are five other big-city races that join London to make up the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) series.

Five of the world’s biggest and best 26.2-mile races – Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City – came together to form the World Marathon Majors in 2006. Since then the series of races has expanded to include the Tokyo Marathon, which joined the club in 2013.

As well as focusing on the elite end of the sport – by awarding a total of US$1 million to the top male and female marathon runners at the end of each series – the Abbott World Marathon Majors also encourages everyday runners to complete all six races in the series and ‘Reach for the Stars’ by becoming a Six Star Finisher. The Six Star Finisher Medal has become one of the most prized possessions in the world of marathon running.

So, if you have yet to run any of the other five races in the Abbott World Marathon Majors family, now could be the time to try...


The Tokyo Marathon is the only race of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors based in Asia.

Starting at the government office and finishing in front of Tokyo Station, the route passes some of the city’s iconic landmarks, including the Senso-ji temple, the Skytree, the Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine and the Tokyo Tower.

The Finish Line of the Tokyo Marathon

What time does it start?

  • 09:05: Wheelchair marathon
  • 09:10: Marathon

Where does it start?
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

How many people applied for the 2019 race?

How many runners finished the 2019 race?

When was the inaugural race?

How many people ran the first Tokyo Marathon?

What percentage of men and women ran the first race?

  • Men: 77.7 per cent
  • Women: 22.3 per cent

What’s the minimum age for entry?
19 on the day of the event

How many runners finished the 2019 race between four and five hours?
10,334 (29.1 per cent)

What is the hilliest section of the course?
The Tokyo Marathon is a largely flat course, but there’s a technically-challenging section between 16K and 25K, which is full of ups and downs.

What’s the course record?
2:03:58, set by Wilson Kipsang (KEN) in 2017

What drinks are handed out on course?
Sports drink and water

What is the cut-off time?
Seven hours

How much is entry for overseas runners?
12,800 Yen (£89.84)

What’s the weather like in Tokyo in March?
The average temperature is 9°C

How does the entry system work?
The ballot entry system opens at the start of August for one month, with 37,500 spaces for the 300,000+ applicants, so there’s about a 10 per cent chance of getting a place through the ballot. There are also 4,700 first-come, first-served charity places available, with a minimum target of 100,000 Yen ($1,000) – entry opens on 1 July. Qualifying times for guaranteed entry places are 2:21:01 – 2:45:00 for men and 2:52:01 – 3:30:00 for women.

What was the largest ever field?
34,819 finishers in 2013

How many people will watch the race on TV?
An estimated 5,631,790 households

How much prize money do the winners receive?

  • First male and female runners: 11,000,000 Yen ($98,532)
  • First male and female wheelchair racers: 1,000,000 Yen ($8,957)

How many countries were represented in last year’s race?

Six of the top 10 runners in 2019 race were Japanese.

In 2018, 26-year-old Yuta Shitara broke then-Japanese record (set way back in 2002) with his time of 2:06:11. His prize was not only a second-placed finish, but $934,457 for setting the new record.