Tokyo Marathon restricts race to elite runners, sidelining Minnesotans who planned to compete

On March 1, Guy Collins was set to accomplish a running milestone that only a few thousand other runners have done: finish the top six major marathons in the world.

"Tokyo was going to be my sixth of six," Collins said, standing beside five finisher medals from marathons he ran in Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin and London.

Officials with the Tokyo Marathon announced Monday morning that the race will be restricted to only elite runners, over fears of the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The move effectively canceled the race for more than 30,000 runners from around the globe, including Collins.


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"I was almost sick to my stomach," Collins said. "Just thinking about all the time and money we’ve put into it."

Caryn Kelly, who trains alongside Collins, was also going to run in Tokyo. It was also her sixth of six major race.

"There was definitely disappointment that this is what 16 weeks of training has brought you, but at the same time it’s the right thing to do," Kelly said, adding most her family who was supposed to travel with her dropped out after news of the virus emerged.

Race organizers assured participants that they will have a priority spot in the 2021 race in Japan.