16 September 2020, 2pm
Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship
Sun 6 December 2020
Usually a two-tier elite/sub-elite men’s race with a field of around 400, this year’s race will be cut back dramatically.
Along with an elite invited field of probably 10 men, the field this year will be limited to the 80 fastest applicants with marathon qualifying marks under 2:25 and the 10 fastest with half marathon bests under 1:04. This eliminates the B-group.
Most notably for the event’s “international” self-designation applications will be “limited to runners who are able to enter and stay in Japan as of 14 September, the day on which applications open.” That all but eliminates anyone who is not a Japanese citizen or already a resident, even in the event of liberalisation of Japan’s restrictive anti-COVID immigration policies between now and race day. How that’s going to apply to the invited athlete field remains to be seen but Fukuoka is definitely capable of putting together a field that meets World Athletics gold label requirements using only Japanese and Japan-based African athletes.