The 2021 Tokyo Marathon Has Been Postponed From October to March

The race is the only World Marathon Major so far to move the date from this upcoming fall.

tokyo japan   march 01 the mens elite group including suguru osako 21 of japan and eventual winner birhanu legese of ethiopia during the tokyo marathon on march 01 2020 in tokyo, japan the organiser had restricted the entry to elite runners only as the marathon acts as the final domestic qualifying for tokyo olympic games mens marathon due to the covid 19 new coronavirus outbreak photo by clive rosegetty images
Clive Rose

The 2021 Tokyo Marathon has been postponed until March 6, 2022, because of the surge in the Delta variant of COVID-19, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced on Friday, September 17. The event was originally scheduled for October 17, 2021, and it was not going to allow international runners.

COVID-19 cases have been rising in Tokyo since July, when the city hosted the Tokyo Olympics. A state of emergency for Tokyo had been extended until September 30.

“Even if the state of emergency has been lifted, it is difficult to determine whether we can deliver a safe and secure event with the current circumstance of the health services,” the Tokyo Marathon Foundation said in a course of decisions memo released on Friday morning. “Travel and many more restrictions are expected to continue.”

The newly scheduled date for the 2021 Tokyo Marathon falls on the pre-planned date for the 2022 Tokyo Marathon—which means the 2022 edition will effectively not take place. Runners who were entered into the 2022 marathon will receive details about what will happen to their entry at a later date. At the moment, it is unclear whether that means reimbursement or entry into a future Tokyo Marathon.

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Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese won the men’s elite race of the 2020 Tokyo Marathon.

Because vaccination rates in Japan continue to rise, the Japanese government has announced that it plans to relax restrictions by the end of the year by making use of vaccination passports. The Japanese government expressed optimism thanks to large-scale events successfully occurring in the USA and Europe.

The Tokyo Marathon is the only World Marathon Major not occurring in 2021. The London Marathon and the Boston Marathon, both normally held in April, will take place on Sunday, October 3, and Monday, October 11, respectively. The Berlin, Chicago, and New York City Marathons will occur on their normally scheduled dates.

“Words cannot express our appreciation for the continuous support we receive from our runners, partners, and all relevant parties involved in the event,” the Tokyo Marathon Foundation wrote in the press release. “We thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.”

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