If things had been different, the Tokyo Olympics would have been starting about a month from now. Due to the coronavirus crisis that's been postponed a year, but in Sapporo work on the marathon course continues to move forward.
The roads around Sapporo's Odori Park where the world's top athletes are scheduled to run are being made smooth and clean. Since it began in April, road work on the Olympic marathon course in the city center has been done at night. The course starts at Odori Park. After following a 20 km loop through the city, runners will cover two more laps of the northern half of the loop.
The focus of the work being done by the city's department of public works is to minimize the difference in height between manholes and the surrounding pavement in order to reduce the risk of runners falling. Project head Koji Achira commented, "As this is a marathon course our work is being done with great care to make sure there are no differences in height."
Along Hiragishi Kaido in Sapporo's Toyohira Ward, the lanes which runners will use are being completely repaved, with other lanes left as-is. In Kita Ward, pavement left pockmarked after the winter is being completely resurfaced, with lefthand bus lanes being painted a reddish-brown.
This week for the first time in five months, members of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee and Sapporo city and Hokkaido prefectural governments met to discuss preparations for staging next year's marathon and race walk events. Organizing Committee executive Yoshiro Mori commented, "This is an opportunity to discuss what comes next. The city of Sapporo and everyone else involved are doing an outstanding job to prepare the roads and whatnot. The next step will be course measurement and certification. We want to have that done within the year before the snow sets in."
The roadwork on the Olympic marathon course is about 90% complete. The remaining work is expected to be finished in late July.
translated by Brett Larner