The Tokyo marathon has been canceled for general runners due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The decision will not affect elite runners, including elite wheelchair participants, the organizers said.
“We reached the conclusion that unfortunately, it is difficult to organize the event… after several cases (of the virus) were confirmed in Tokyo,” the Tokyo Marathon Foundation said in a statement.
The cancellation comes after Japanese government officials warned the spread of the virus in the country entering “a new phase”.
Some 38,000 runners have registered for the race scheduled on March 1, according to the Tokyo Shimbun, which reported on the cancellation earlier.
“The cancellation is disappointing,” said Akari Terrell, who was planning to compete on the day. “This time, it can’t be helped.”
Competitive races will still be held, as the Tokyo marathon is an Olympic trial race for professional runners. Last week, residents from China were asked to refrain from running in the race.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February had repeatedly said the 2020 Olympics would not be canceled or postponed despite fears about the novel coronavirus that has infected tens of thousands and cast a shadow over travel and tourism in Asia.