When one of the most highly anticipated runs of the year has been canceled, you know it's bad. The Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced Monday that its annual race will be canceled for non-professional runners in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the region. The foundation said in a statement posted on its website that the recent confirmation of a case of coronavirus — formally named COVID-19 — in Tokyo prompted the decision to limit the number of runners.
“We have been preparing for the Tokyo Marathon 2020 (Sunday, March 1) while implementing preventive safety measures, however, now that case of COVID-19 has been confirmed within Tokyo, we cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated,” the organizer said.
Competitive races, however, will still occur since the Tokyo marathon is an Olympic trial race for elite athletes. But many of the 38,000 runners who had registered for the March 1 race took to social media to voice their disappointment as well as frustrations with their now-scuttled travel plans.
Others worried that the coronavirus could have a similar impact on the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, one of the globe’s largest sports gatherings. The 2020 Olympics are scheduled to begin in July, and the event is expected to draw tens of thousands of international travelers.