Berlin marathon organisers shelve plans for 2020 race

Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) - The Berlin Marathon, one of the world's big six races, will not take place this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers said on Wednesday.

The race was originally scheduled for Sept. 26-27 but organisers had already said it could not go ahead then because of Germany's ban on public gatherings of more than 5,000 people until Oct. 24.

The event is one of a group of leading marathons that also includes Tokyo, Boston, London, Chicago and New York. To date, 11 world records have been set over the streets of the German capital.

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New York on Wednesday also announced the cancellation of the world's largest marathon on Nov. 1 due to the pandemic.

"Over the past weeks, we have put a lot of commitment and effort into examining all options for holding the BMW Berlin-Marathon 2020 under the given conditions," Berlin organisers said in a statement.

"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.

Participants will be offered a choice of repayment of the entry fee or a place in next year's event.


(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by David Goodman and Ken Ferris)

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