2020 Tokyo Marathon limited to only a few hundred elite participants due to coronavirus outbreak

On Monday, Tokyo Marathon organizers announced that they are "drastically" reducing the number of runners who will participate in the race due to the coronavirus outbreak. The 2020 Tokyo Marathon will be limited to just a few hundred elite participants. In addition, the general public will not be allowed to attend the race, which is scheduled for March 1. 

"We cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated and we regret to inform you the following: The Tokyo Marathon 2020 will be held only for the marathon elites and the wheelchair elites," organizers told the Associated Press.

The Tokyo Marathon was expected to have around 38,000 participants, but will take a massive hit this year. To date, the Tokyo Marathon is the largest sporting event that has been affected by the coronavirus. The Japanese capital is also hosting the Summer Olympics in July and August.

The coronavirus has caused at least 1,357 deaths globally and affected more than 50,000 people, CBS News reports.

Last month, the World Athletics governing body announced that the World Athletics Indoor Championships were being moved to 2021. The Indoor Championships were originally scheduled to take place in Nanjing, China in mid-March.

In addition, the first FIS Alpine Ski World Cup races were canceled due to the coronavirus. The races were originally scheduled for Feb. 15 and 16. The men's downhill and super-G races were scheduled to take place during the two-day period.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illnesses as minor as a cold, or as serious as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), according to the World Health Organization. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus can cause symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. But while some patients only show mild symptoms and recover, others have developed life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia, according to CBS News.

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