The Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (UTMF) has been cancelled because of the coronavirus. The Japanese ultramarathon was due to take place on April 24, but the organisers felt it was “impossible to eliminate the risk of infection”.
The UTMF is the only Ultra-Trail World Tour event in Japan. The race is 100 miles (161km) around the famous mountain. Last year, only a handful of runners finished before the race was called off owing to severe snow.
The island of Hokkaido in Japan alone has more than 100 cases of coronavirus cases, and recently was put under a state of emergency. There are travel restrictions to and from Japan imposed by a number of countries.
“Over the past months the UTMF Race Committee has been discussing whether to hold the UTMF 2020, while closely following the development of the coronavirus outbreak,” the race organisers said on their website. “Unfortunately, we have not seen any sign that the spread of the virus has been contained or even slowed in Japan or around the world.”
“Under present circumstances, it is impossible to eliminate the risk of infection for the UTMF racers, volunteers, and staff members.”
Would-be participants will receive priority entry to next year’s race and a fee reduction.
“We are still committed to the idea of sharing with people around the world the importance of taking on challenges, and of the attractiveness of trail running in the beautiful atmosphere and environment around Mount Fuji,” the organisers said.
The coronavirus crisis started in China and has spread around the globe. There are more than 80,000 cases in China, followed by Italy with more than 15,000. Japan has less than 600 in total, unless you include the Diamond Princess cruise liner, which had more than 600 cases alone and is docked in Japan.