Tokyo Marathon Restricted to Elite Athletes Over Coronavirus Outbreak

Written by on February 17, 2020

The Tokyo Marathon, one of many world’s largest races, with an estimated 38,000 runners, has been restricted to elite runners due to new circumstances of the coronavirus confirmed inside Japan, organizers announced Monday.

After a case of the viral respiratory illness was confirmed in Tokyo, the organizers stated in an announcement, they may not “proceed to launch the occasion inside the scale we initially anticipated.”

The marathon, scheduled for March 1, can be held just for elite runners and wheelchair athletes, a area that now contains about 200 members.

Greater than 300,000 runners had utilized to run the Tokyo Marathon, which attracts tons of of 1000’s of spectators and greater than 10,000 volunteers yearly. The race is without doubt one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a group of the six largest marathons on the earth.

One runner, Christopher Warnick, was nonetheless planning on collaborating till he heard Monday morning’s information. “Yesterday I ordered sufficient surgical masks and Purell for per week and was principally planning to troop it out,” he stated.



  • What do it is advisable to know? Begin right here.

    Up to date Feb. 10, 2020

    • What’s a Coronavirus?
      It’s a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its floor. The coronavirus can infect each animals and folks, and might trigger a range of respiratory illnesses from the widespread chilly to extra harmful circumstances like Extreme Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      In keeping with preliminary analysis, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is presumably transmitted via the air. Scientists have estimated that every contaminated particular person may unfold it to someplace between 1.5 and three.5 individuals with out efficient containment measures.
    • How fearful ought to I be?
      Whereas the virus is a critical public well being concern, the risk to most people outside China stays very low, and seasonal flu is a extra quick menace.
    • Who’s working to include the virus?
      World Well being Group officers have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, colleges and markets. This week, a workforce of specialists from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m touring?
      The US and Australia are briefly denying entry to noncitizens who just lately traveled to China and a number of other airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I hold myself and others secure?
      Washing your hands regularly is an important factor you are able to do, together with staying at house while you’re sick.

Warnick, from Brooklyn, stated the race would have been his sixth Abbott Marathon Main earlier than he turns 60 in April. Operating all six major marathons is a bucket checklist merchandise for a lot of distance runners. “That’s positively disappointing,” he stated, “however on the finish of the day individuals’s well being is extra vital than a race.”

Japan has the very best variety of confirmed coronavirus circumstances exterior of China, most of them linked to a Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off the coast. The viral outbreak has sickened greater than 71,300 individuals in Asia and killed a minimum of 1,775 individuals as of Monday morning.

The Tokyo Marathon is the newest in a rising checklist of athletic occasions which have been canceled, postponed or relocated because the outbreak spreads, and the last-minute modifications are elevating questions on whether or not the epidemic will have an effect on Tokyo’s upcoming internet hosting of the summer time Olympic Video games.

The Hong Kong Marathon, scheduled for Feb. 9, was canceled. The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, have been postponed from this March to March 2021. An LPGA Tour event scheduled to happen in early March on Hainan Island in China was canceled. The Chinese Grand Prix was postponed. World Rugby Seven Series occasions scheduled to happen in Hong Kong and Singapore in March have been postponed to October. Three qualifiers — in China, Japan and the Philippines — for the 2021 Worldwide Basketball Federation Asia Cup have been postponed.

“That is one more instance of how this coronavirus is having world impacts past the quick and conventional considerations of public well being,” stated William Schaffner, an infectious illness specialist at Vanderbilt College Medical Middle. “It’s having financial and social ramifications which are profound.”

Per week in the past, Tokyo Marathon organizers introduced new safety measures to forestall the unfold of the coronavirus, together with handing out alcohol-based hand sanitizers and surgical masks. In an announcement, the organizers requested members to observe their physique temperature and “chorus from collaborating within the occasion” if that they had a fever or have been “experiencing signs of respiratory sickness.”

Some runners had already determined to not take part within the race, citing fears over the outbreak.

The final time a serious marathon was canceled was in 2012, when the New York Metropolis Marathon was called off two days before the race within the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Tokyo Marathon organizers stated 2020 members may defer their entry to the 2021 race however must pay the charges once more. They weren’t provided refunds for this 12 months’s race.

Consideration is shortly shifting towards the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 9, that are anticipated to attract an estimated 11,000 athletes and 600,000 abroad guests.

At a gathering in Tokyo final week, the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee president, Yoshiro Mori, insisted the Olympics would go on. “I wish to once more state clearly that cancellation or postponement of the Tokyo Video games has not been thought-about,” he stated. “Let me make that clear.”

However the elephant within the room is looming. The Olympic torch relay is scheduled to start subsequent month in Fukushima, touring via Okinawa, Kyoto and Hokkaido earlier than it turns south towards Tokyo.

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