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28 May 2020, 10am

Reduced size to keep within guidelines

Hokuren Distance Challenge may go ahead

by Brett Larner

Following the nationwide lifting of the state of emergency in Japan Hokkaido’s Hokuren Distance Challenge may be held on its planned dates from 4–18 July on a reduced scale.

According to a source involved with the series, based on the advice of experts the 10000m will be cut, with only events of 5000m and shorter held in order to reduce the size of the series’ meets and keep them in line with government social distancing guidelines.

The Japanese Association of Athletic Federations earlier requested that no races be held until July, but if the Hokuren series does go ahead it will likely signal a restart of the track and field season.

The number of people allowed to participate in the series will likely be limited, with priority given to upper-tier athletes. Many issues such as accommodation and the number of race and athlete support personnel permitted on-site have yet to be worked out. One of the organisers commented, “The series will bring in a lot of people from outside Hokkaido. We are still at the point of coordinating with the local government on anti-coronavirus protocols and ensuring the safety of staff.”

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