New York City Marathon cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic

Runners cross the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge during the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon in New York, the US, on November 3 2019.
Runners cross the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge during the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon in New York, the US, on November 3 2019.
Image: AFP/ JOHANNES EISELE

The New York City Marathon, one of the most prestigious events on the global running calendar, has been cancelled this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, race organisers said on Wednesday.

The New York Road Runners (NYRR), in partnership with the mayor's office, said the decision to cancel the marathon was made due to Covid-19-related health and safety concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers and staff.

The race was scheduled to take place on November 1.

Cancelling this year's TCS New York City Marathon is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved, but it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective

“Cancelling this year's TCS New York City Marathon is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved, but it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective,” said NYRR CEO Michael Capiraso.

The 42km race, which traverses all five boroughs of the city, usually attracts more than 50,000 runners and more than one million spectators.

Former New York City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi said the race held a special place in his heart and he was sad to hear that this year's edition had been cancelled.

“These decisions are never easy, but keeping people healthy and safe is always the right call. I will see you in NYC for the 50th running in 2021!” Keflezighi said on Twitter.

Runners who signed up for the 2020's marathon, which would have celebrated its 50th anniversary, can either receive a full refund or choose to run the race in any of the next three years.

“As the latest US major on the calendar for the year, this one stings,” former Boston Marathon winner Des Linden wrote on Twitter.

“It also offers clarity for season goals and allows for patience and intelligence in mapping the way forward. It’s the right call.”

Of the six World Marathon Majors, three have been cancelled this year due to the virus with the Boston Marathon and Berlin Marathon also opting to shelve plans for their 2020 races.

The Boston Marathon, originally due to be held in April and then postponed until September, was cancelled for the first time in its 124-year history.

The Tokyo Marathon went ahead on March 1 with elite runners only, London was postponed to October 4 from April 26 and the marathon in Chicago is scheduled for October 11.

Berlin Marathon organisers said on Wednesday they had cancelled the race for 2020 because of problems finding an alternative date due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In late April it was announced the race scheduled for September 27 had been postponed, but organisers have now cancelled this year's event, which attracted 62,000 runners in 2019. — Reuters


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