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First full-scale Tokyo Marathon since 2019 to be held in March 2023

Tokyo Marathon participants start running in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in the capital's Shinjuku Ward on March 6, 2022. (Pool photo)

TOKYO -- Organizers of the Tokyo Marathon, the largest marathon race in Japan, have decided to hold the 2023 edition on March 5 next year at full scale for the first time in four years.

    The Tokyo Marathon Foundation made the decision in a June 23 board meeting in the capital. The 2023 event's capacity will be 38,000 runners -- the same scale as in 2019, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The participation of "citizen runners" will be allowed, as was the case in the previous event in March 2022.

    The Tokyo Marathon is known as the largest running race in the country, but due to the spread of COVID-19, only "elite athletes" were allowed to compete in the 2020 edition. The 2021 edition was postponed twice and eventually held in March this year. While organizers allowed citizen runners to participate for the first time in three years, they asked those aged 65 or above and those who had preexisting conditions to refrain from participating, on the grounds that they had a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. In the end, 19,188 people ran.

    As with the previous event, organizers plan to make participants take virus tests before the race, and runners will start at different times to ease congestion.

    The Tokyo Marathon Foundation's Director General Fumihiko Takeda commented, "Rather than just simply returning to pre-pandemic conditions, we will take the necessary countermeasures against infections, such as maintaining physical distance, while receiving experts' opinions. We'd like to create an environment where people can run at ease."

    Organizers will accept up to 37,500 entries for the full marathon and 500 entries for the 10.7-kilometer race. They will start in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, and the marathon course will end in front of Tokyo Station. Entries will be accepted in steps from Aug. 1.

    (Japanese original by Shun Iwakabe, Sports News Department)

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