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Sapporo and IOC officials choose Odori Park as start and finish of Olympic Marathon and race walk

Kyodo

The Tokyo Olympic Games Marathon and race walk events will start and finish at Odori Park in Sapporo under a plan agreed to Monday at a meeting of the organizing committee and local municipalities, a committee official has said.

The organizers held their second working-level talks with the Sapporo municipal and Hokkaido prefectural governments in preparation to confirm the plan at the International Olympic Committee’s executive board meeting on Dec. 4. The organizers’ proposed marathon route sees runners running the roughly 20-kilometer (12.5-mile) course twice. The scenic route will pass by the Sapporo TV Tower, Sapporo Station and the Sapporo campus of Hokkaido University.

The race walking route under consideration makes a round trip up and down the road between Odori Park and the station.

On Oct. 16, the IOC made a sudden announcement that it would change the venue for the competitions due to concerns over extreme heat in Tokyo. With fewer than 300 days until the games are set to kick off, the organizers have decided to plan the new course based on the route used for the Hokkaido Marathon.

The IOC, which decided on the relocation unilaterally, agreed at initial working-level talks on Nov. 8 to pay additional costs, including for the setup of temporary facilities, along with the organizers. The municipal and prefectural governments are to cover administrative costs. IOC Coordination Commission Chairman John Coates said Wednesday that the IOC wanted to keep the men’s marathon on Aug. 9, as originally scheduled, which is the final day of the games when the closing ceremony will be held in Tokyo.

Runners will have to travel over 800 kilometers by air following the race to attend the closing ceremony in the capital, with arrangements further complicated by the need to administer doping tests and other procedures.