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July 5 Hakodate Marathon to Make a Decision by End of May Whether to Cancel

The Hakodate city government announced this week that it will make a decision by the end of May as to whether the July 5 Hakodate Marathon will go ahead as scheduled. In light of the spread of the novel coronavirus, this deadline was set based on the deadlines for cancelation of flights and accommodations.

Following the Feb. 17 cancelation of the Tokyo Marathon's mass-participation division less than two weeks before the race, Hakodate organizers said that they would "make a decision as soon as possible." On Feb. 18 they announced that the race would be held as planned with countermeasures against the virus in place, but after a case of infection was found in the city of Hakodate the organizing committee decided through written communication to set the May deadline.

The decision by the end of May will take into account the impact of cancelation on business income and expenditures, including existing order expenditures and advertising revenue from sponsors. In the event of cancelation, organizers will consider giving people who were entered this year priority and discounts for entry in next year's race. Entry fees will not be refunded, but even so the number of people who entered Hakodate's half and full marathon divisions during the week from Feb. 25 to Mar. 2 was 88% of the number of entrants during the same period last year, a minor decline. "This was more than we expected," said organizers. "You can feel the runners' passion."

Race director Toshiharu Ikeda of the Hakodate Municipal Board of Education said, "I want to look closely at what actions other races nationwide are taking and make a calm and rational decision. After we have completed our assessment of the potential business impact we want to make the best decision possible for the runners."

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translated by Brett Larner

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