【Tokyo Olympics, Coverage from Hokkaido Venue】

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics from July 23, 2021 onward.
In Hokkaido, Sapporo will host the marathon, race walking, and football events.
These articles bring you the feelings and reactions of Hokkaido residents.

Aug. 8

Special feature

【Tokyo Olympics, Coverage from Hokkaido Venue (8)】 Women’s Marathon: 15 Athletes withdraw in extreme heat despite earlier start

Mao Ichiyama running with all her strength in the latter stages of the race while clutching water bottles in both hands. August 7, Kita-ku, Sapporo
Women’s Marathon runners speeding through central Sapporo. In the early stages, the bunch was led by Honami Maeda (far right). Second from the right is Ayuko Suzuki. Mao Ichiyama is also following behind.

The Women’s Marathon was held on August 7, the third day of the Tokyo Olympic Games athletics Marathon and Race Walk events being held in Sapporo. Temperatures in Sapporo were extremely hot, with a maximum of 31.9 degrees recorded just before noon. This was the 18th consecutive day on which temperatures of at least 30 degrees were recorded. Despite the games’ Organising Committee hastily changing the start time to one hour earlier at 6 a.m., the race proved tough, with 15 of the 88 starters withdrawing before the end of the race.

Between the night of August 6th and the early hours of the 7th, a ‘tropical night’ – when the lowest temperature is at least 25 degrees – was recorded in Sapporo. At 6 a.m. when the race started, the temperature was 25.9 degrees, and a humid 79%. The Marathon and Race Walk events were moved to Sapporo to avoid the heat of Tokyo but, on this day, temperatures from the middle of the race onwards were almost identical to those in Tokyo. Humidity was lower than that of Tokyo but continued at around 70%.

As the top runner finished at around 8:30 a.m., the temperature was 29.1 degrees, with 68% humidity. Japanese competitor Honami Maeda (25, Tenmaya team), who has experience of running the summer Hokkaido Marathon, finished 33rd. “It was hotter than I expected,” she recalls.

Meanwhile, the temperature at 9:10 a.m. – when the last competitor to complete the race in 73rd place crossed the line – was over 30 degrees, and the effects of moving the race one hour ahead of schedule could be seen to some extent. Bronze medalist Molly Seidel (27) from USA appraised the decision, saying “It was hot and humid so it was the right decision to move the start forward one hour.”

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