Marathon rules, distance and course at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics
One of the most iconic competitions in the Olympic Games is about to start. Here’s all you need to know about this year’s marathon at Tokyo 2020.
The Marathon has been a staple of the Olympics since the first modern Games in 1896. However, women were not allowed to run the 26.2-mile race until the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Now in the Japanese macrosports event, both the men’s and women’s races are among the most anticipated competitions on the Olympic program.
Where does it take place?
Tokyo is the heart of the Olympic competition, where most of the events take place, but the marathon races, which are scheduled for 7 August (women) and 8 August (men), will be staged in Sapporo, Hokkaido - 500 miles north of the host city.
The Japanese capital was the favorite to host the race, however, the venue was changed in October 2019 due to concerns about high temperatures in Tokyo.
The course itinerary
Both marathon races, with a distance of 42.195 km, will start and finish at Odori Park, Sapporo. Runners will tackle a three-loop race route after running two laps around the park
The first large loop is about the length of a half-marathon, and then runners will face a second, shorter loop, which measures about 10 kilometers and must be completed twice.
During the competition, the athletes will get a scenic tour of the city, running by the Toyohira River and Hokkaido University, among other landmarks.
Rules of the event
Although the coronavirus situation has been controlled, the Japanese government and the Olympic Federation have published a new series of rules and protocols to comply with to reduce the risks of contagion during the games.
One of them is the ban on foreign visitors to the Olympic Games to prevent a new wave of covid-19 infections, which has also been controlled in Japan. The main goal is not to put the population or athletes at risk, as well as their companions.
Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, stated that “safety and health must be a priority. Every decision has to respect, above all, the principle of safety ”, emphasizing that he respects and understands the decisions taken and urging fans to tune in to the event through virtual platforms.
Will there be spectators in the streets?
As it has happened over the years, fans would line the Olympic marathon race route, cheering on runners in their fight for the medals. However, the event organizers decided last month that both the men’s and women’s marathons would take place on empty streets with no spectators.