Marathon course will pass symbolic Tokyo landmarks and start and finish at the Olympic Stadium

The marathon and race walk routes for the Tokyo 2020 Games have been announced, with IAAF president Seb Coe describing the marathon course as highlighting “the essence of Tokyo” and the race walk routes as capturing the “serenity and beauty” of the parks and green spaces.

The 26.2-mile course will take in both modern and traditional districts of the city, starting and finishing at the Olympic Stadium and passing symbolic Tokyo landmarks along the way. These will include the Kaminarimon (“Thunder Gate”) in Asakusa, guarded by the deities of wind and thunder; the Imperial Palace, the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan; Ginza’s upmarket Chuo Street; the Zojoji temple, with the landmark Tokyo Tower as a backdrop; and Nihombashi bridge, the historic centre of the Japanese capital. The climax of the Tokyo 2020 marathon race will see the athletes running the final stretch leading to the Olympic Stadium uphill.

Marathon running in Japan has a long history and proud tradition, with the Tokyo Marathon – one of the world’s top six city marathons – now regularly attracting huge crowds of supporters. This year’s event drew 300,000 applicants, with nearly 36,000 runners participating and more than one million people cheering on the streets.

The race walk events will take place in the Imperial Palace Outer Gardens where there will be a 1km loop course for the 20km events and a 2km loop course for the 50km event.

Naoko Takahashi, Olympic marathon champion in 2000, said: “It is really exciting to imagine just two years from now the side streets along the Tokyo 2020 marathon and race walk route filled with countless fans.

“I look forward to seeing some great performances from the runners, who will be encouraged by those fans lining the route. They will be memorable races.”

Coe added: “The marathon course is a growing highlight of the athletics programme with imaginative courses that show off the best of cities, are challenging for athletes and fan friendly.

“The marathon course highlights the essence of Tokyo – a blend of tradition and modernity – and the race walk course captures the serenity and beauty of the parks and green spaces tucked away in this busy, bustling metropolis with the stunning backdrop of the majestic Imperial Palace.

“We are delighted with both courses and thank the organisers for their creativity and thoughtfulness.”

Session schedules are set to be announced this summer.