A unique Tokyo Marathon happens on Sunday amid the Coronavirus scare
The first of the world’s major city marathons will happen this weekend in Tokyo without the mass participants, for the first time. This is due to the global spread of the Coronavirus that began in China early in the year and has now already spread to over 54 countries with WHO (World Health Organization) declaring it as a global public health emergency. It remains to be seen how this race will turn out. Will there be spectators on the route? Will the small number of runners make it look less lively? There is clearly a mixture of excitement and curiosity ahead of this major marathon on Sunday.
One of the elite runners who have already landed in Tokyo for the race weekend did post a picture of herself with a group of other runners traveling there showing their faces covered in masks. But, things looked better during the press conference as the runners turned out in the same attires they would in any other major pre-race press conference; without the masks.
The runners expressed their determination to run a great race with Lema Sisay saying that he will be going for a time of 2:02:00. “I came to Japan planning to run a good race. Many excellent runners are also here, so I am expecting strong rivals. I think we may set some new records at the Tokyo Marathon,” Sisay said.
The course record for the marathon is 2:03:58, and the other male runners at the press conference also expressed their readiness to run under this time. Legese Birhanu who has the fastest personal best time of 2:02:48 will be aiming to run 2:03:30. The other one was Getane Molla who has a personal best time of 2:03:34 and will be aiming to run 2:03:55.
Although he did not feature in the pre-race interview, Titus Ekiru will be the man to watch in the men’s race as he tries to register a first finish at the world’s major marathons. He has a personal best time of 2:04:46 which he ran in Milano, Italy last year. But what is worth noting is that he has been unbeaten in all his marathon races since 2018, except for the ones he did not finish.
In the women’s race, the defending champion Ruti Aga, Valary Aiyabei, Berhane Dibaba and Salpeter Chemtai will be all aiming to lower the course record of 2:19:47 that was set in 2017.
With such a great line up, the Tokyo marathon is promising to be one great race to watch and remember on Sunday. The course records in both the men and women races are very certain to fall if the weather will just be right.