And They’re Off! Robot Marathon Now Underway

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Feb. 24, 2011

The competitors will complete 422 laps in one room.

Big marathon news out of Japan not related to Haile Gebrselassie’s withdrawal from the Tokyo Marathon: On Thursday, the world’s first robot marathon kicked off in the city of Osaka.

The “field” is comprised of five robots between 30cm and 44cm high. Unlike the Tokyo Marathon which offers scenic views of the city, the robot marathon is being held in a room located in Osaka’s Asia-Pacific Trade Center where contestants run 422 laps around a 100m-long track.

The marathon, called the “Robo Mara Full”, was organized by Japanese robot maker Vstone to test a robot’s manuverability and durability. The company is streaming the race live through a camera mounted on its entry’s head. You can watch the thrilling excitement  here.

Not suprisingly, Japan has been at the forefront of robot technology. In 1997, it hosted the first robot soccer World Cup.

In the robot marathon, entries are allowed to have their batteries changed. Repairs can be made, but they must be completed unassisted.

For More: Guardian

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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