The route for the 2020 Toyko Olympics marathon was announced today, with the course set to start and finish at the Olympic stadium. The route will take runners through the heart of Toyko, past some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks. These will include the Kaminarimon (“Thunder Gate”), the Imperial Palace, the Zojoji temple and Nihombashi bridge.
The course is mainly flat, with a gruelling uphill 3km finish towards the new stadium, which is yet to be completed. The route for the race walk events was also announced, which will take place in the Imperial Palace’s Outer Gardens.
The Olympic course largely resembles that of the famous Tokyo Marathon, one of the world’s iconic running events. This year, 300,000 applied to run the Toyko marathon, with 36,000 runners taking to the streets in front of a large crowd of supporters lining the route. The city marathon takes place in winter, to avoid the summer heat and humidity Olympians will face in 2020.
Whilst the start time of the Olympic marathon is yet to be announced, it is expected to be early in the morning, to avoid the midday heat. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the marathon started at 7.30am.
Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations said: “The marathon course is a growing highlight of the athletics program with imaginative courses that show off the best of cities, are challenging for athletes and fan friendly.
“The marathon course highlights the essence of Toyko – a blend of tradition and modernity and the race walk course captures the serenity and beauty of the parks and green spaces tucked away in this busy, bustling metropolis with the stunning backdrop of the majestic Imperial Palace. We are delighted with both courses and thank the organisers for their creativity and thoughtfulness.”
In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, Sir Mo Farah himself said "it's possible" when asked about his chances of competing in the Toyko Olympic marathon. Adding, "my aim is to run as many marathons as I can, to learn about them and run decent times and if I can do that and I think I've got a good chance at 2020 then it's possible."