Usually in a race powered vehicles are penalized with a delayed starting time allowing the humans to get far enough down the course to make the competition somewhat equal. But VStone's robots are somewhat diminutive both in stature and endurance. They'll need their batteries swapped and perhaps their servos repaired quite a few times before completing their pseudo marathon attempt:
What's it all about? There are several possibilities. The company wants to demonstrate the power and reliability of their robots; they want to set some new humanoid robot records; they want to position Osaka where the company is located as somehow superior by marathon racing robots instead of humans; or perhaps they're trying to leverage the popularity of the Tokyo Marathon - set for this Sunday - to grab some media attention and public exposure.
Whatever their motives, we totally applaud them staging the robot marathon and hope that it encourages more people to get actively involved in robotics here in Japan and around the world.