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Race news

02 November 2020, 1pm

Tentative date depends on COVID situation

Lake Biwa plans to go ahead in February

by Brett Larner

Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon
Sun 28 February 2021

With race after race cancelling or postponing, the organizers of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon announced plans for next year's 76th running to go ahead on 28 February 2021.

This is a week earlier than its traditional date due to the Tokyo Marathon’s move to March. The planned date comes with the caveat that, “depending on the future situation with regard to COVID-19, there may be changes to the race’s operation, including the possibility of cancellation.”

That said, it looks like the organisers plan no additional restrictions on their event’s field beyond the normal qualifying times and requirement for national federation approval. In the past that has typically meant a field of under 200 finishers from Japan and abroad. For the domestic field, with no Beppu-Oita or Tokyo Marathon, there’s sure to be record depth. as between the three races this year 29 men went sub-2:10 and 50 sub-2:12.

For international men, if it actually happens, Lake Biwa will be one of the only elite spring marathons in the world. In contrast to the 2020 Fukuoka International Marathon and 2021 Nagoya Women’s Marathon, both of which restricted their fields to those already in Japan, Lake Biwa appears to be open to any internationals who meet the standards, have federation approval, and are willing to make the trip.

At the moment immigration restrictions would prevent that from being an easy option for most nationalities, but as it works on its athlete COVID protocols for the Tokyo Olympics it’s quite possible that changes to Japan’s policies could open the door to a legitimate international field at Lake Biwa. With the race’s application deadline standing at 31 December there’s just two months for those changes to happen one way or the other.


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