Held in April each year, the Nagano Marathon celebrates the city and region’s role as host of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games with a mission to “fulfill the dreams of future generations while in coexistence with an environment rich in nature”. The race starts and ends at host venues during the Games and follows a route that takes runs past the Aqua Wing, through the city centre onto Big Hat, M-Wave, White Ring and finishing at the former-Olympic Stadium at the southern end of the city.
Ranked around No.50 in terms of participation numbers for marathons in Japan, the race is an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race competition attracting both elite and amateur runners from Japan and around the world. Being a smaller city and race, the event has a local atmosphere with the community showing-up in big numbers to watch it and entertainment including ‘taiko’ drums and festival food available to keep the non-runners well-fed and having fun.
Taking place in early-spring, participants and spectators relish the warming weather after the region’s long winter, an event that typically coincides with the bloom of the cherry blossoms in Nagano.