After months of gruelling training, a Richmond athlete's dreams of competing in the famous Tokyo Marathon are now put on hold. Although Sandy Sumra secured one of the coveted spots in the race, he and every other "non-professional" runner were banned from competing on Monday, February 17 ahead of the race. Although the Tokyo Marathon barred this B.C. runner because of worries about the virus spreading, Sumra is already setting his sights on new heights.\nThe Tokyo Marathon is one of the world's largest races, standing shoulder to shoulder with famous events like the Boston and London marathons. It's one of six "Marathon Majors," top races that thousands of runners vie for a spot every year.\nThe competition to secure a spot is demanding, and Sumra had been training for months in anticipation.\n"It's extremely difficult to get into these majors. It's not like you can just get in next year, because it's quite the process to be able to even get a spot," he told Narcity.\nHowever, after a case of novel coronavirus was confirmed in Japan, organizers are allowing only professional runners and wheelchair athletes to compete.\n"Now that case of COVID-19 has been confirmed within Tokyo, we cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated," reads a statement from the race organizers.\nThe virus has spread throughout the world, with seven cases confirmed within Canada.\n"Disappointing is the word. It's extremely disappointing, just because you sacrifice four months of your social life and personal life and you have to make a commitment for those four months," Sumra explained.\n"And then at the very last minute, unfortunately, events happen."\nIMPORTANTSadly, the news is now confirmed by our friends @tokyo42195_org concerning this year's mass race. Full statement 👇https://t.co/4N885e9y1l— Abbott WMMajors (@WMMajors) February 17, 2020\nThe Tokyo Marathon would've been Sumra's fourth Marathon Major. He's already conquered the New York, Chicago, and London races.\nHowever, Tokyo wasn't the only setback he's experienced. The first time he was meant to run the New York marathon, Hurricane Sandy caused the whole race to be cancelled.\nThere was good reason for the cancellation given the risks posed by hurricanes, said Sumra. However, it still stung deep.\nOn a serious note. I'm gutted for those who have trained hard & spent a lot of money on travel to go run the Tokyo Marathon for it to be now cancelled to the general entry runners. I understand the reasons, but there are currently 1000s of runners all around the world very upset— Aly Dixon (@alydixon262) February 17, 2020\nAlthough the cancellation crushed him, Sumra says he understands where the race organizers are coming from.\n"I was worried about it, even prior to the decision that was made by the marathon," said Sumra of the novel coronavirus.\n"With the Olympics coming up in Tokyo, I think they erred on the side of caution to prevent any sort of risk or reduce any risk," he continued. "I understand it and I respect it."\nSadly, my Tokyo marathon run is not to be this year. When your doctor tells you it’s unlikely you’d survive if infected, common sense has to prevail. Tokyo 2021 for me.Time to find the next challenge for 2020! #COPD— COPD ATHLETE (@russwinn66) February 15, 2020\nFortunately, race organizers made it up to Sumra by offering him a spot in next year's race, though he'll still need to pay the roughly $220 CDN admittance fee.\nNow he hopes to put his training to good use with different, albeit local, races.\n"As much as it's disappointing and as much as it sucks, you gotta accept it," said Sumra. "Things happen for a reason, and you just sort of move on. That's my attitude about it."