2020 Summer Olympics

The 2020 Summer Olympics Marathon Is Moving

Long Run
Written by Charlie

In a great move for all participating athletes, the 2020 Summer Olympics marathon will be moving and not taking place in Tokyo! It is headed for cooler regions.

When the marathon course for the 2020 Summer Olympics had been revealed, there were a couple of takeaways – one was the general hilliness but, two, was the particular hilliness of the ending. It was definitely not going to be a world record course, especially when factoring in the heat.

The 2020 Summer Olympics Marathon Is Moving to Sapporo

Link: IOC Statement about the Marathon Moving

While really fast times are not exactly normal at Olympic Marathons (since the goal is just to win, many of the runners may not really pick up the pace), it would be nice to see some really good times at the 2020 Summer Olympics. However, between the hills and the heat, it did not look like that.

Out of safety concerns for the athletes, the International Olympic Committee released a statement that said the 2020 Summer Olympics Marathon will be moving 500 miles/800km north to the city of Sapporo instead of Tokyo. I am not sure yet what this means for the people that have tickets to the stadium for the finish, some have suggested they may have just monster monitors setup. Sapporo is where the 1972 Winter Olympics were held. It should be an average of 66 degrees at that time of year.

But, this should definitely make it better for the runners overall. Not only that, but it will also make it easier for anyone that wants to watch the marathon! Since Sapporo is so far from Tokyo, there are still plenty of hotels with availability so definitely snag one if you want to watch the marathon unfold. Flights are not cheap from Tokyo but should be cheaper than flying in from other Asian cities since Tokyo is where people are heading. There is actually a new Park Hyatt about 35 miles away as well that you could check out and is available on points (category 7).

The women’s marathon will take place Sunday morning, August 2nd and the men’s marathon will take place Sunday morning, August 9th.

I will update when I find out what the new route will be.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I’m mixed about this. Athens 2004 was brutally hot as well and several marathoners did not finish. That’s the race Deena Kastor won bronze by running her own race versus running with the lead group. If that race was moved to a cooler city back then, I doubt Deena would have won a medal.

    • Great point, Joey. Were there many African nation runners in the women’s race that year? I don’t remember, to be honest. I would think the heat would favor them now!
      I guess I am glad to see the IOC make a move like this that is pro-runners after the ridiculous IAAF decision to have the runners to run in Doha and even back when the Olympics were in smog-filled Beijing and the runners had to deal with that. I believe Haile skipped that because of the concern for long-term lung health, right?
      I do feel bad for anyone that wanted to catch the finish in the stadium. Watching on a monitor is definitely not the same thing!

  • Yes, there were Africans in the 2004 olympic marathon. Silver medalist Catherine Ndereba from Kenya and 4th place finisher Elfenesh Alemu of Ethiopia.
    As for Beijing 2008, they shut off all the factories near the capital for 3 months so that was the cleanest air Beijing has ever experienced! lol.
    As long as athletes are given enough time in advance to prepare, I’m fine with it. I do think though that marathoners who fare better in warmer/humid climates would have a better chance at winning the Tokyo 2020 olympic medals if it remained in Tokyo.

    • Thanks for the follow up! Believe it or not, that was 2 years before I started running so, beyond knowing that Deena Kastor medaled, I had not really paid much attention to those Olympics! Different now of course. 🙂

  • 2013,before “Tokyo 2020” is chosen,
    Japan’s summer heat had already caused many heat disease and victims.
    but Tokyo 2020 bid committee explained about July~August of Tokyo such as “warm climate” “ideal weather for Olympians”.
    Many Japanese including media had pretended to do not notice about its lie.

    Such Japan’s lie was ignored somehow.