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 have confirmed.
- Last year’s New York City Marathon had a world-record 53,640 finishers
- This year’s event, which would have been the race’s 50th edition, has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns
- Shortly after the NYC Marathon’s cancellation, organisers confirmed that this year’s Berlin Marathon is also off
The New York Road Runners (NYRR), in partnership with the mayor’s office, said the decision to cancel the world’s largest marathon was made due to coronavirus-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 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 chief executive Michael Capiraso.
The 26.2-mile race (42km), which traverses all five boroughs of the city, routinely attracts more than 50,000 runners and more than 1 million spectators.
Soon after the New York announcement, organisers of the Berlin Marathon — scheduled for September 27 — confirmed that race was also off.
“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,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
“We look forward to hosting the 50th running of the marathon in November of 2021.”
Last year’s marathon in New York included a world record 53,640 finishers.
Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya, the women’s world record holder in the half-marathon, won last year’s race — her first-ever marathon, upsetting four-time champion Mary Keitany.
Geoffrey Kamworor, also from Kenya, won the men’s event for the second time in three years.
“Cannot wait to compete in my next NYRR event, when it is safe to do so,” US marathoner Emily Sisson tweeted after the announcement, adding a heart emoji.
Former New York City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi said the race held a special place in his heart and he was sad to hear 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 this year’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.
Of the six World Marathon major races, 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 this year 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 Chicago Marathon is currently scheduled for October 11.