Abbott World Marathon Majors event on March 1 will only feature elite action due to coronavirus

This year’s Tokyo Marathon on March 1 will no longer feature a mass race, with only the elite action set to take place due to new cases of coronavirus having been confirmed within Japan.

In a statement released on Monday, organisers said: “We have been preparing for the Tokyo Marathon 2020 (Sunday, March 1) while implementing preventive safety measures, however, now that case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been confirmed within Tokyo, 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.”

The Tokyo Marathon forms part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors series, with around 38,000 participants having been expected to take part. But now only around 200 elite athletes will race in the event.

It is the biggest disruption to a Marathon Majors event since the New York City Marathon was cancelled in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy.

For ‘semi-elite, general, charity, and 10km’ runners who were set to race in Tokyo, entry fee refunds will not be given but participants have the option of deferring their place to next year’s event.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships is also among the events to have been affected by coronavirus, with the event which had been due to take place in Nanjing, China, from March 13-15 having been postponed to 2021.

This summer’s Olympic Games marathon action will take place in Sapporo rather than Tokyo, due to heat concerns, with those races set to take place on August 8 and 9.

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