Tokyo: Next year’s men’s and women’s Olympic marathons will start at 6am local time to try to avoid the worst of Tokyo’s blazing summer heat, organisers said on Tuesday.

The marathons had been scheduled to begin at 7am but with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees Celsius last year organisers were under pressure to make changes to ensure the safety of athletes and supporters.

The 50km race walk final has also been moved to 5.30am local time to avoid the midday sun.

A record heatwave last year killed over a dozen people in Tokyo with July average temperatures reaching more than 30 degrees for the first time since 1998, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency.