The New York and Berlin Marathons have been cancelled due to Covid-19

‘It was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective.’

LAST UPDATE | 24 Jun 2020

THE NEW YORK and Berlin Marathons have both been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers have confirmed.

New York’s race, which was due to take place on 1 November, was set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

In late April, it was announced that the Berlin Marathon, scheduled for September 27, had been postponed but organisers have now cancelled this year’s event, which attracted 62,000 runners in 2019, due to the Covid-19 crisis.

spu-s-new-york-2019-new-york-city-marathon Runners in last year's New York Marathon. Xinhua News Agency / PA Images Xinhua News Agency / PA Images / PA Images

“Due to the weather conditions alone and shortening days, it’s very difficult to hold the Berlin Marathon… before the end of this year,” said race director Juergen Jock.

“The question of whether athletes will be able to travel internationally again by then cannot be answered now.”

Organisers added: “Your health, as well as all of our health, is our first priority.

“Therefore, taking into account the Containment Measures Ordinance due to the COVID-19 pandemic… the Berlin Marathon 2020 will not be able to take place.”

The city of Berlin has banned events with more than 5,000 participants since April.

The flat, fast course around Berlin’s city centre is where Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya set the men’s world marathon record of 2hr 01min 39sec in 2018.

It was the eighth time in the previous 20 years that the men’s world record has fallen on the streets of Berlin.

Kipchoge ran 1:59:40 over the marathon distance in Vienna last October, but the time is not recognised as a world record as the event was not an open competition.

Meanwhile, calling the cancellation in New York “incredibly disappointing,” Michael Capiraso, head of the New York Road Runners organisation, said “it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective.”

The world’s largest marathon — 53,640 runners finished in 2019 — New York’s race was set to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020.

nyc-marathon A scene from last year's marathon in New York. AP / PA Images AP / PA Images / PA Images

“While the marathon is an iconic and beloved event in our city, I applaud New York Road Runners for putting the health and safety of both spectators and runners first,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. 

“We look forward to hosting the 50th running of the marathon in November of 2021.” 

Those registered for the 2020 edition will have refund options or they can defer entry to races in the next three years.

The decision comes weeks after Boston canceled its marathon for the first time in the event’s 124-year history.

The Berlin Marathon, another major race, was also canceled in a bid to halt the spread of COVID-19.

The London Marathon has been postponed until October 4, while the Tokyo Marathon was held with a reduced field of elite runners.

The Chicago Marathon is still scheduled for October 11.

© – AFP 2020

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