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Tokyo Marathon to be Held in Fall of 2021 With Field of 38,000

On Oct. 4 it was learned from an involved source that the 2021 Tokyo Marathon, currently scheduled for Mar. 7, has made a final decision to move to the fall next year with a full field size of 38,000 rather than as an elite-only race. The postponement is a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, but the organizers do not plan to reduce the event's size. The decision has been approved by the board of directors of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation and a formal announcement is expected to be made on Oct. 9.

The move puts the 2021 Tokyo Marathon in the aftermath of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. According to the source, the original Mar. 7 was viewed as simply not feasible given the current status of the coronavirus crisis. The move will allow the race to be held without a reduction in the number of participants, roughly 38,000 people in normal years. The Foundation was keen to avoid a reduction in the number of participants for a second-straight year after this year's mass participation field was cut shortly before the race. One consequence of the coronavirus crisis has been a reduction in the event's income from sponsors.

This year's Tokyo Marathon in March was held as an elite-only competition, with Suguru Osako (29, Nike) setting a new national record of 2:05:29. The cancelation of the mass-participation race came two weeks beforehand, with entrants given the option of shifting their entries to either 2021 or 2022. Since then, marathons and road races all across the country have canceled, announced one-year postponements, or scaled down their event sizes. As the largest marathon in Japan, an announcement that Tokyo plans to go ahead with a full field may help to slow down this domino effect.

The Foundation originally planned to make a final decision about next year's race by August of this year. That decision was delayed in order to make it possible to make a decision informed by the latest government policies regarding public events. Government policies currently call for events to reduce the maximum number of people present by 50% through the end of November, with the subsequent level still under study. Based upon that timeline and its impact on preparations the Tokyo Marathon organizers decided the planned spring date was not feasible. Foundation spokespeople had previously said that they were examining all options but did not plan to hold another elite-only race.

source article:
https://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/202010040000860.html
translated and edited by Brett Larner

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