19 February 2020, 12pm
Sun 1 March 2020
Organisers confirmed that the event on 1 March will now be limited to the elite field of 176 athletes and 30 wheelchair athletes.
“We have been preparing for the Tokyo marathon 2020 while implementing preventive safety measures, however, now that a case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been confirmed within Tokyo, we cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated,” they added.
Organisers said that all registered runners would be allowed to defer their entry until next year but would would have to pay again and would not get their money back from this year’s race. One British couple who had entered the race told the Guardian that “We understand the decision but from a personal and financial perspective it is hard to take just 13 days before the race. We don’t know whether the GBP 3000 (USD 4000) we have paid for flights and hotels will be refunded if we decide to run the race next year.”
Last week organisers had announced plans to distribute surgical masks to runners and volunteers as preventive safety measures. They also told the 1800 runners registered from China that they could defer their entry until 2021 without any penalty. However, the continuing spread of the virus meant they had little choice but to take the drastic step of limiting the race to just over 200 elite participants.