Fort Worth

Cowtown Planning for Big Year, Influx of Runners Due to Tokyo Marathon Cancellation

The Tokyo Marathon in Japan has called things off because of a confirmed case of the virus in the city. Runners in the U.S. who planned to fly to Tokyo have now turned to Cowtown for their next marathon.

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Organizers for the Cowtown Marathon are preparing for a busy event when the festivities kick off in one week.

The annual marathon runs from Feb. 28 to March 1 in Fort Worth, with a new relay event and lots of good energy being planned for the weekend.

“It’s the hometown feel, we’re friendly and it’s a beautiful place for people to come visit. We’ve got 16 foreign countries and every state except Delaware right now that is coming into Fort Worth for this race. So it’s a good destination run," said Cowtown executive director Heidi Swartz.

But global events are making an impact on the marathon.

The Tokyo Marathon in Japan has largely cancelled the event because of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in the city. Organizers have now limited their event for only elite runners, which cut the number of participants down from 38,000 to only 600. The rest of those runners have to find another race to help them meet their goals they've trained months or even years for.

Frustrated runners are now turning to the Cowtown because the two races happen to be on the same weekend. Swartz said because of this, they have gotten an influx of calls from runners out of town.

Tokyo was also a qualifying event for those who wanted to race in next year's Boston Marathon. Luckily, with Cowtown also being a qualifier, organizers said they are proud to step up and help in what's a difficult moment for runners.

“There are a lot of runners in the United States that planned to travel to Tokyo and run that race," Swartz said. "Obviously they’ve been training for months to get prepared for Tokyo and they’re not able to. So a lot of them are now coming to Cowtown. We offered them a special discount so they can come and run with us in Fort Worth."

Organizers said they are already near capacity for every event. The kids 5K, a new four-person relay event and the marathon are expected to close registration in a couple of days.

Swartz said 24,000 people have signed up so far and they expect up to 26,000 on race day. For context, they had 23,000 sign ups last year -- so they are already well ahead on the numbers this year.

Volunteers are still needed for all types of jobs throughout the weekend, from handing out water and distributing medals.

Cowtown runs from Feb. 28 to March 1. Click here for more information to get involved.

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