Leading world marathon events in New York and Berlin have been cancelled for this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
New York Road Runners announced on Wednesday the cancellation of the world’s largest marathon scheduled for November 1 after coordinating with the mayor’s office and deciding the race posed too many health and safety concerns for runners, volunteers, spectators and others.
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“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,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We look forward to hosting the 50th running of the marathon in November of 2021.”
Organizers of the Berlin Marathon scheduled for September 26-27, also said on Wednesday the event will not take place this year.
They had already said it could not go ahead then because of Germany’s ban on public gatherings of more than 5,000 people until October 24.
To date, 11 world records have been set over the streets of the German capital.
“We worked hard on the development of a hygiene concept and held countless discussions with our experts, the responsible authorities and service providers, among others.”
The statement said a comprehensive feasibility analysis showed, however, that the marathon could not be held at a later date this year either.
Weather conditions and shorter days would make it difficult and there was also uncertainty about the regulations after October.
“The question of whether athletes will be able to travel internationally again by then can also not yet be answered,” said Juergen Lock, managing director of SCC Events.
Last year’s New York marathon included a world record 53,640 finishers.
Entrants for the 2020 race will be offered a full refund of their entry fee or a guaranteed entry to either the 2021, 2022 or 2023 marathon.
The 2021 New York City Marathon is scheduled for November 7.
Last month, the Boston Marathon was canceled for the first time in its 124-year history, and organizers announced a virtual event would be held instead, with participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles (42.2 km) on their own receiving a finisher’s medal.
The Boston Marathon, which draws a field of 30,000, had originally been scheduled for April 20 before being postponed for five months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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