How to get a charity entry to Tokyo Marathon

How to get a charity entry to Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon (to be held on March 1st, 2020) has a field of ~30,000 runners out of which 26,370 are through a lottery entry. While several people I know have been successful in getting a lottery spot, it is becoming increasingly difficult with a growing number of people looking to complete Tokyo as part of the World Marathon Majors Challenge (Tokyo, London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago, New York). In my quest for the WMM as a personal challenge, I figured that the least I could do was to fundraise for all the races and make the teeniest bit of impact along the way.

Tokyo Marathon’s charity entry, called “RUN WITH HEART” is a little bit different from other races where you sign up with a charity and commit to raise a certain amount of money within a certain period of time in exchange for a number. Here, they have a few different methods of getting a charity entry.

Tokyo Marathon charity entry (first come first served) registration will begin 10 am Japan time, Tuesday, July 2. 

Charity Entry/Run with Heart

There are 3 types of charity entries

  1. Non-Crowdfunding charity aka Upfront donation of 100,000 Yen – 3,700 spots
  2. Crowdfunding charity – 300 spots BUT the slots will go in order of maximum fundraised with a minimum of 100,000Yen. So if you raise 500,000 Yen but 300 people have raised more, you do not get a spot.
  3. Active charity – 1000 spots with 200,000 Yen or more of donation to charity directly.

The option that I went through last year was the #1 non-crowdfunding charity route of Minimum upfront donation – 100,000 Yen
Race entry fee – 18,200 Yen
Total = ~USD $1,100 (depending on the exchange rate)

Last year, the 4,700 (1000 more from this year) non-crowdsourcing charity entries took four days to “sell out”. The 3,700 non-crowdsourcing charity entries in 2017 lasted a couple of days longer. With the reduced number of entries and the increase in demand and popularity, if you want to run Tokyo in 2020, be ready to register when the window opens – EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT to do so. (July 2nd, 5pm Japan Time)

Tokyo Marathon Entry

What can you expect during registration

The race website posts a list of charities that you can opt to donate to.
If you are passionate about a certain charity, go through the list BEFORE registration time and pick a charity.

The whole transation will be in 2 parts.

  1. You will be asked to the 100, 000 Yen upfront (~900-1000 USD) to the charity of your choice.
  2. Once you have paid the non-crowdsourcing donation, you might receive an email with another link to pay your race entry fee. (~180 USD).


The website will get overloaded and crash/slow down. Be patient.

Take time and care to enter your details. Last year, a lot of us had website loading issues and I had my country as Antigua (first in the list) instead of United States. Luckily, they reached back to everyone and we had a chance to correct it.

Watch out for emails and finish all transactions. Last year, there was atleast one person who paid the 100,000 Yen charity and then did not notice the email with link to race entry. And hence lost the race entry inspite of having paid the 100,000 Yen.

Remember, Tokyo Marathon will probably have the cutoffs like previous years and if finishing in 6hrs is a stretch, PLEASE look at your training carefully before signing up for a potentially very expensive marathon.

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