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February's Marugame Half Plans to Go Ahead With Reduced Field Size, No International Competitors

On July 19 the organizers of the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon made the decision to move forward with the event's 75th edition, postponed one year to next Feb. 5-6 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a field reduced in size by 30%. Conditions the organizers established for the event to take place included there being no state of emergency declared for Kagawa prefecture at that time.

At another meeting the same day at Marugame city hall, the committee met to discuss guidelines for implementing the event. Along with an obligation to meet the JAAF's pandemic road race guidelines, the organizers and city took into account the prefectural government's alert level system, stipulating that conditions must be within the 3rd through 6th level of the prefecture's six-level risk categorization. The organizers also limited participation to residents of Japan. 

The field will be limited to 7,000 runners, a reduction of 30% from its usual size, with the 3 km and elementary school ekiden races also reduced in capacity by 30%. Entry fees for the half marathon have been raised by 2/3 from 6,000 to 10,000 yen, with fees for the other divisions also raised. Entries will be open from Oct. 12 to Nov. 19, with no last-minute registration the day before the race like in past years. Finishers' certificates will only be available via online download.

The organizers also made plans to establish a 15-member medical advisory committee to develop plans for effective coronavirus countermeasures, and to make a determination one to two months before race date whether it will be feasible to actually stage the races. Organizers also have yet to finalize plans for refunds in the event of cancelation or further field size reduction, and will be likely to deduct expenses from entry fees prior to any refunds being made.

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translated by Brett Larner

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