Running is now a “cool” thing to do in Japan.
There’s a running boom happening in Japan right now for middle-aged men. Runners like Bruce Ikemizu, a commodities trader in Tokyo, wake up before 3 a.m. in order to run over 13 miles. Once he’s done with his run, he logs onto Twitter and checks in on members of his running club.
“This is my favorite part of the day,” he said.
Ikemizu is one example of the new middle-aged marathoner in Japan. Many Japanese men have taken up marathoning and this recent boom is fueling spending on running shoes and sportswear.
Auto maker BMW caught on to this surge in running’s popularity and decided to sponsor the Tokyo Marathon for the first time. “There’s no doubt that this running boom pushed us to be a sponsor,” says BMW public relations manager, Masahiko Maeda. “Our customers want to age in a cool way.”
What about running being good for you? Apparently, that’s taken a back seat according to Tad Hayano, the CEO of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation. “We are targeting sexy and rich older men,” he said.
For More: Bloomberg