Fukuoka Marathon awarded World Athletics Heritage Plaque

© World Athletics
© World Athletics

Fukuoka, Japan, October 7, 2020: To mark two weeks to go to the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 in Poland on October 17, six of the world’s oldest footraces were awarded the World Athletics Heritage Plaque on October 3.

The World Athletics Heritage Plaque is a location-based recognition, awarded for “an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track and field athletics and of out-of-stadia athletics disciplines such as cross country, mountain, road, trail and ultra-running, and race walking”.

The six historic road races joined a list of 54 other recipients since the honour was inaugurated on December 2, 2018. The six are:

*Around the Bay Road Race, Hamilton, Ontario (CAN) – founded 1894.

*YMCA Turkey Trot, Buffalo, New York (USA) – founded 1896.

*Bechovice 10k, Prague (CZE) – founded 1897.

*Giro Podistico di Castelbuono, Castelbuono, Sicily (ITA) – founded 1912.

*Kosice Peace Marathon, Kosice (SVK) – founded 1924.

*Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship, Fukuoka (JPN) – founded 1947.

“These six footraces represent some of the oldest sports events, let alone running races, in the world,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.

“They join others such as the marathons in Athens, Boston and Seoul, the Saint Silvester São Paulo, and Hakone Ekiden which we recognised last year.

“Together these races ooze athletics history. They represent what running is truly about: the record-breaking feats of the many great champions and the personal triumphs of the countless recreational and charity runners."

The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship was founded in 1947 and is now a World Athletics Gold Label Road Race.

It began as the Kanaguri Prize Asahi Marathon with the starting gun fired by Shizo Kanaguri, a 1912, 1920 and 1924 Olympian who is known as the father of Japanese marathon running. The aim of inaugurating the race was to honour Kanaguri's achievements.

By 1966, the race, with the support of the IAAF, changed its name to the International Open Marathon Championship.