COVID-19: New York City, Berlin marathons called off

In spite some positivity around resumption of sports activities, albeit without fans, COVID-19 continues to take its toll on global events. Two leading marathons – the New York City and Berlin have become the latest victim of the pandemic.

The highly contagious disease, which still has no anti-dose, has compelled people to follow social distancing. Any event that attracts huge crowds become the potential threat for spread of the disease.

The organisers of the Berlin Marathon, which was rescheduled of September 26 and 27, and the New York City Marathon on November 1 have separately confirmed that two of the marathon world’s most prestigious events will not take place this year.

The German Government has imposed banned till October 1 any gathering of more than 5,000 people, while the BMW-sponsored event last year had last year attracted more than 62,000 participants from over 150 countries.

“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.”

New York Road Runners have also announced the cancellation of the world’s largest marathon. Those who have furnished their entries for the Indian IT major Tata Consultancy Services-sponsored event can take refunds or book an entry for any of the next three editions.

Event organisers New York Road Runners and the Mayor’s Office of the City of New York have jointly decided to cancel the world’s largest marathon “due to coronavirus-related” health and safety concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers, staff, and the many partners and communities that support the event.

“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, adding that the 50th running of the marathon will be hosted in November 2021.

Runners registered for the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon and others from around the world can participate in the third annual TCS New York City Marathon Virtual 26.2M taking place from October 17 through November 1.

New York state had been the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, recording over 388,500 cases and more than 31,200 deaths so far.

The 49th edition of the world’s largest marathon last year had seen a record 53,640 finishers.

The marathon has raised $350 million for charities since 2006.

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