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With race after race canceling or postponing, this week the organizers of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon announced plans for next year's 76th running to go ahead on Feb. 28, 2021.
A week earlier that its traditional date due to the Tokyo Marathon's move to March, the planned date comes with the caveat that, "depending on the future situation with regard to COVID-19, there may be changes to the race's operation, including the possibility of cancelation."
But with that said, it looks like the organizers plan no additional restrictions on their event's field beyond the normal qualifying times and requirement for national federation approval.
In that past that has typically meant a field of under 200 finishers from Japan and abroad. For the domestic field, with no Beppu-Oita or Tokyo Marathon there's sure to be record-setting depth. as between Beppu-Oita, Tokyo and Lake Biwa this year 29 men went sub-2:10 and 50 sub-2:12.
For international men, if it actually happens Lake Biwa will be one of the only elite spring marathons in the world. In contrast to the 2020 Fukuoka International Marathon and 2021 Nagoya Women's Marathon, both of which restricted their fields to those already in Japan, Lake Biwa appears to be open to any internationals who meet the standards, have federation approval, and are willing to make the trip.
At the moment immigration restrictions would prevent that from being an easy option for most nationalities, but as it works on its athlete COVID protocols for the Tokyo Olympics it's quite possible that changes to Japan's policies could open the door to a legit international field at Lake Biwa. With the race's application deadline standing at Dec. 31 there's just over 2 months for those changes to happen one direction or the other.
Major Japanese marathons still scheduled to happen in 2020 and 2021 marathon announcements to date:
Dec. 6: Fukuoka International Marathon (370) - scheduled with limited field size.
Dec. 20: Hofu Marathon (2,724) - scheduled with limited field size.(10/29/2020) Views: 78 ⚡AMP
The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...more...