Coronavirus: Tokyo marathon cancels mass race over virus fears

Alex Pattle
Runners fill the street in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at the start of the Tokyo Marathon 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. Some 30,000 runners participated in the tenth edition of the Tokyo Marathon, one of the six World Marathon Majors

This year’s Tokyo marathon will be restricted to elite athletes only due to the growing spread of the coronavirus within Japan.

The decision from the event’s organisers will now place increased scrutiny on the Japanese capital, which is scheduled to host the Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

A statement on the Tokyo Marathon 2020 website confirmed that the organisers “cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated” due to new cases of the coronavirus in Tokyo.

Organisers had implemented preventative safety measures, but they were not deemed sufficient for the race to go ahead as originally planned.

The 1 March event, in which almost 40,000 people were due to take part, is to be held “only for the marathon elites and the wheelchair elites”.

Other athletes who registered for the race are being allowed to defer their entry to next year’s Tokyo marathon.

The spread of the coronavirus had led many to wonder whether the Olympics could be cancelled altogether, though organisers said last week there are no plans to postpone or cancel the Games.

Additional reporting by PA

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