POSTED: August 9th 2014

Tokyo 2020: Commemorative 1000 km relay through Tohoku region rallies the Olympic Spirit

The relay runners enjoyed some sports healing and completed the race in the Tokyo Bay area / Shuqo Takemi TOKYO 2020
The relay runners enjoyed some sports healing and completed the race in the Tokyo Bay area / Shuqo Takemi TOKYO 2020

CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) A relay benefitting victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami concluded in Tokyo, the host city of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games, Thursday.

More than 800 runners – including Sydney 2000 marathon gold medallist Naoko Takahashi, Vancouver 2010 speed skating bronze medallist Joji Kato, London 2012 table tennis silver medallist Kasumi Ishikawa, and Athens 2004 Paralympics wheelchair tennis gold medallist Shingo Kunieda – finished the 1000-kilometre, two-week relay. Tokyo Governor Toichi Masuzoe was on hand at the finish line in the Tokyo Bay area.

“The immense hardships suffered by the people in the disaster-affected areas and the amazing support for the recovery and reconstruction efforts acted as a source of inspiration and drove me on along the long 1000-kilometre course,” Takahashi said.

“I took part in the relay in the hope that it might contribute in some small way to inspiring and revitalizing the local communities,” Kato said. “If running can play a role in the reconstruction efforts, I would run forever.”

The relay through the Tohuku region was organised by the Tokyo Metropolitan government and cheered on by hundreds of fans along the course, showing Tokyo’s appeal for major sporting events.

The participating athletes ran 439 kilometres during the relay and biked the remaining 795 kilometres from Aomori in northern Tohuku. The relay began 24 July, an important date on the Tokyo 2020 calendar, and took the athletes through Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima.

The Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games will be held 24 July 2020.

Keywords · Tokyo 2020 · Tokyo · Tohuku · Relay · Olympics · Olympic Games · Paralympics · Vancouver 2010 · London 2012 · Sydney 2000 · Athens 2004 ·

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