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The Voices of Average Runners on the Street as Tokyo Marathon Cancels Mass-Participation Race and Other Races Follow Suit

In the wake of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation's cancelation of its Mar. 1 mass-participation race over coronavirus concerns, other races across Japan have begun to follow Tokyo's lead.

While the Feb. 23 Himeji Castle Marathon in Hyogo said that it will go ahead with plans to hold its race, the Neyagawa Half Marathon in Osaka announced that it will completely cancel its event the same day, which had 5,392 entrants supported by 1,350 volunteers this year. Entry fees will not be refunded, but all entrants will have the option to run next year's race for free. Also on Feb. 23, Saitama's Fukaya City Half Marathon announced it would cancel its race, saying that it would not return entry fees but would send entrants the program and entry goods and give them priority in entering next year, while Aichi's Inuyama Half Marathon canceled without specifying details, saying those will be posted on its website.

The Miura International Half Marathon, scheduled for the same day as …

Nagoya Women's Marathon Considering Canceling Mass Participation Race

In the wake of the Tokyo Marathon's cancelation of its mass-participation race, on Feb. 17 it was learned that the Mar. 8 Nagoya Women's Marathon, which like Tokyo features a format combining an elite selection race for the 2020 Olympic team with a mass-participation race, is examining whether it will be possible to still stage the mass-participation component of its event.

Following the Tokyo Marathon's announcement earlier in the day that it was canceling its mass-participation race over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Nagoya's organizers were inundated with inquiries from the media and amateur runners entered in the race. The organizers say that they hope to reach a decision and make an announcement as soon as possible.

The largest women-only marathon in the world, as of Feb. 13 Nagoya has 24,002 entrants total this year, 137 in its elite division and 23,865 in its general division. Along with Nagoya, organizers are also examining the feasibility of s…

Tokyo Marathon Cancels Mass Participation Race, To Go Ahead as Elite-Only Event (updated)

Update: The Mar. 8 Nagoya Women's Marathon, the world's largest women-only marathon, is now also looking at canceling its mass-participation division.

In response to the spread of the coronavirus within Japan, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation has decided to cancel the Mar. 1 Tokyo Marathon's 38,000-runner mass-participation race. Founded in 2007, the Tokyo Marathon is Japan's largest mass-participation marathon, with more than a million spectators along its course every year. A men's Olympic marathon team selection race, this year's Tokyo Marathon will be an unusual spectacle with only 200 elite runners including national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike) and previous record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda).

The Tokyo Marathon Foundation is also looking at significantly cutting back the activities of the 11,000 volunteers involved in the event's operations. On Feb. 1 the Foundation already asked roughly 1,800 participants living in China to refrain from taking part…

Tokyo Marathon Looking at Cutting General Division in Response to Coronavirus (updated)

Update: The Tokyo Marathon's mass-participation race has been canceled. More information here.

It has been learned that the Tokyo Marathon Foundation is considering cutting back on the number of runners in the Mar. 1 Tokyo Marathon in response to the continued spread of the coronavirus. According to a spokesperson, the Foundation is said to be considering options including reducing the number of participants and completely canceling the mass participation race.

The Tokyo Marathon has the largest number of participants of any marathon in Japan, with around 40,000 people entered for this year's race. As an Olympic selection race for men, the elite field in Tokyo this year includes national record holder Suguru Osako and previous national record holder Yuta Shitara.

The Foundation and metropolitan government had previously announced plans to distribute masks to runners who wished to use them. But in light of the continued spread of the coronavirus after that announcement, discuss…

Honami Maeda Breaks Mizuki Noguchi's 30 km National Record and Pre-Athens Ome 30 km Course Record

2020 Olympic marathon trials winner Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) took down two massive marks at Sunday's Ome 30 km Road Race in Tokyo's mountainous western suburbs, breaking Mizuki Noguchi's 30 km national record and pre-Athens Olympic gold medal Ome course record in 1:38:35 in wet conditions. Beating her closest female competition by almost eight minutes, Maeda was strong and about as steady as possible over the tough Ome course, clocking 5 km splits of 16:18 - 16:18 - 16:48 - 16:22 - 16:37 - 16:12.

Maeda's stated goal pre-race was Noguchi's 1:39:06 course record, set in February, 2004 as a key tune-up for Noguchi's gold medal-winning run in the Athens Olympics marathon. That fell by a wide margin, but few expected Maeda to also beat Noguchi's national record of 1:38:49 set en route during her 2:19:12 marathon national record run at the 2005 Berlin Marathon. It took Maeda's fastest split of the race, a 16:12 from 25 km to the finish, for that to happen, but…

Asian Cross-Country Championships Postponed Due to Coronavirus

On Feb. 14 the JAAF announced that the Asian Cross-Country Championships, scheduled to be held Mar. 29 in Hong Kong, will be postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus. The Championships will instead be held in November or December.

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translated by Brett Larner

Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field

Coming right after the announcement of elite field for the Mar. 8 Nagoya Women's Marathon is the announcement for its male counterpart, the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon earlier the same day. Like Nagoya it's the last chance for someone to make the 2020 Olympic team. All they have to do is break the 2:05:50 national record, or whatever the fastest Japanese man runs at the Tokyo Marathon a week earlier if someone there goes better than 2:05:50.

Basically it's not going to happen. Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta) is the only Japanese guy at Lake Biwa under 2:09 in the last three years, and he hasn't been himself since his 2:08:59 win at the 2017 Gold Coast Marathon. There's no shortage of people around the 2:09 to 2:10 level, but out of them the only one who could conceivably have the kind of breakthrough it would take to make the Olympic team is Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu).

At the MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials last September Suzuki was the guy who played domestique…