The organizers said Monday that they are canceling the amateur part of the Tokyo marathon, which will affect around 38,000 runners because they fear the new corona virus may spread in Japan.
"We have come to the conclusion that it is unfortunately difficult to organize the event … after several cases (of the virus) have been confirmed in Tokyo," the Tokyo Marathon Foundation said in a statement.
The decision will have no impact on elite runners, including elite wheelchair users, the organizers said.
But they only make up around 200 of the tens of thousands of people who signed up for the March 1st race.
Last week, the organizers asked Chinese participants not to participate in the marathon.
Amateurs, including those from China who signed up for this year's event, are eligible for the 2021 marathon, but with a participation fee ranging from 5,600 yen (50 USD) to 18,200 yen, the organizers said.
You will not receive a refund for this year's entry fee.
Japanese participants were disappointed with the decision.
"Uuuggghhh, I wanted to run !! But no choice" Given the virus situation, they wrote on Twitter.
"I was really looking forward to it … I know it can't be helped, but I wanted them to postpone it to fall instead of canceling it," wrote another.
The cancellation follows after Japanese government officials warned the spread of the virus in the country that was entering a "new phase".
At least 65 cases were diagnosed in Japan, excluding hundreds of infections on board a cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast.
On Sunday, the health minister warned citizens to avoid large crowds and non-essential gatherings, sparking speculation that the marathon would be canceled.
A public gathering for Emperor Naruhito's birthday, scheduled for February 23, was also canceled due to virus fears.