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10 September 2020, 11am

Concern any outbreak at March event could imperil Olympic Games

Tokyo Marathon ‘examining alternative plans’

by Brett Larner

Tokyo Marathon is reported to be examining a plan to hold next year’s race, currently scheduled for 7 March, in October 2021 with a maximum field of 15000.

The plan is among the leading candidates for a solution to dealing with the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Tokyo Marathon Foundation continues to examine the options and projections for the future and intends to make a final decision at its executive board meeting in early October.

This year’s race on 1 March was run as an elite-only event due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis. 38,000 mass participation runners had been scheduled to run through the city’s streets before the mass participation race was cancelled. Those who had been entered have the option to run in either 2021 or 2022 instead.

The countdown to next year’s race continues in the midst of uncertainty. Back in August there was a clear statement from the Foundation that “We are not considering an elite-only race.”

The postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are set to take place next summer. Some athletics officials are worried that if the Tokyo Marathon goes ahead with a large number of people on 7 March a cluster outbreak there would have serious repercussions for the Olympics’ and Paralympics’ chances of happening. If the 7 March date is judged not to be feasible, the October date with a half-sized field of 15,000 seems like the most likely alternative. But with the Paralympics set to end on 5 September it remains to be seen whether another large-scale event could be realistically staged just a month later.

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