Japan’s Yuta Shitara earned a massive $1.18 million bonus for just over two hours of work (minus of course the thousands of hours of training) at the 2018 Tokyo Marathon.
The pay (100 million yen) was awarded for breaking the Japanese marathon record. Shitara covered the first of 2018 Abbott’s World Marathon Majors in 2:06:11, five seconds to spare as he celebrated in the closing stages of the race.
The time to break was 2:06:16, a national record that had stood since 2002. The Japan Industrial Track and Field Association provided the incentive, through a program called Project Exceed, in the leadup to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with aims of the national records falling.
Though Shitara had the largest payday because of his record-breaking performance, he did not win the race. Kenya’s Dickson Chumba, who finished second at the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, won in 2:05:30.
According to Japan Running News, Shitara received two additional bonuses including: finishing second overall in the race and the Tokyo Marathon itself’s prize of breaking the national record. That brought the 26-year-old’s daily winnings to 109 million yen, or roughly $1.29 million at today’s exchange rate, excluding any bonuses his sponsors/corporate team may have provided him.
— 東京マラソン財団 (@tokyo42195_org) February 25, 2018
Shitara’s coach received 50 million yen ($594,000) for his work with Shitara, according to Brett Larner of JRN.
— Poncho Muñoz (@PonchoMunoz) February 25, 2018
In total, nine Japanese men broke 2:10 on the day. No Canadian has ever broken 2:10.