December 19, 2019 / 11:45 AM / a month ago

IOC, Tokyo 2020 approve new marathon route following move

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing the yukata, or casual summer kimono, walks past Olympic rings displayed at Nihonbashi district in Tokyo, Japan August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Olympics organisers approved the new route for the Tokyo 2020 marathon on Thursday, after the race was moved to the northern Japanese city of Sapporo earlier this year due to heat concerns.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the surprise decision in October to move the marathon and race walk events 800 kilometres north to Sapporo to avoid the worst of Tokyo’s summer heat.

Temperatures in the Japanese capital in July and August, when the Olympics will be held, regularly exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86°F) with high humidity adding to the discomfort.

On Thursday, the IOC, World Athletics and Tokyo 2020 organisers agreed on the new route in Sapporo.

The marathon course will start and finish at the city’s central Odori Park and will consist of a 20-kilometre loop followed by two laps of an approximately 10-kilometre segment.

The start of the race will be set against the backdrop of Sapporo TV Tower, one of the city’s landmarks, and the route will twice cross the Toyohira River that runs through the city.

All the marathon and race walk events are scheduled to be held on four consecutive days, from Aug. 6 to 9, with the men’s marathon remaining on the final day of the Games, as per tradition.

Both marathons will start at 7.00 am local time (2200 GMT). The women’s marathon was initially set for Aug. 2.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Toby Davis

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