Upcoming Tokyo Marathon limited to elite runners due to COVID-19 concerns


FILE – In this Feb. 23, 2014, file photo, thousands of runners fill the street in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at the start of the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo. Organizers of the Tokyo Marathon set for March 1, 2020 are drastically reducing the number of participants out of fear of the spread of the coronavirus from China. The general public is essentially being barred from the race. (AP Photo/Toru Hanai, File)

TOKYO (KXAN) — The upcoming 2020 Tokyo Marathon will be canceled for more than 38,000 runners out of concerns over the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak that started in Wuhan, China.

Organizers told the Japan Times the March 1 race will be restricted to the elite-level and wheelchair competitors stopping thousands of general participants from running in this year’s race.

“We cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated and we regret to inform you the following: The Tokyo Marathon 2020 will be held only for the marathon elites and the wheelchair elites,” organizers said.

On Friday, the Japan Times reported organizers asked Chinese residents to defer entry to this year’s marathon. Runners were told they would automatically qualify for next year’s marathon if they agreed to the request.

The 42 kilometer track is expected to start at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in Shinjuku and finish at Tokyo Station.

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