It’s been a week of bad news for races across the globe - in the UK, the Royal Parks Half Marathon has been postponed to next April, in the US the New York City Marathon has been cancelled and in Germany, organisers have now cancelled the Berlin Marathon. Yet in more positive news, the postponed Haspa Marathon Hamburg will take place on 13 September, with a field of 10,000 runners plus the elite race.
Organisers have agreed to implement a vigorous anti-COVID hygiene plan, with a number of social distancing rules in place. The marathon and the half marathon, which will have around 4,000 runners, will have different start and finish areas. The marathon will start at 9.30am, with a starting window of just under two hours. Runners will be set off in batches of 1000 runners, in roughly ten-minute intervals.
Before the race, runners will assemble in predetermined groups in different parts of the Expo building to help with social distancing. Spectators will not be allowed to enter the expo, or the start and finish area, and disinfection stations will be set up at all three venues, plus along the course.
All runners will be given a tubular scarf with a breathing filter, which must be worn over the nose and mouth at the expo and start and finish areas. During the race itself, runners may remove the scarf, but will need to keep it with them and wear it as soon as they cross the line. At the finish line, there will be no open drinks or food, no massage tents or showers.
The elite race has been scaled down to 30 athletes. These will be the only runners allowed to stand together on the start line and all athletes will be required to take a COVID-19 test before they run.
‘We are optimistic that the Haspa Marathon Hamburg will be started on 13 September,’ said chief organizer Frank Thaleiser through a statement.
‘We have the plans and the infrastructure required. We will now make detailed plans together with the city to realize the race. The organizational and hygiene policy should demonstrate that a running event with up to 14,000 participants within a city environment can be carried out responsibly while respecting the restrictions on contact and current hygiene guidelines since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic’, Thaleiser said.
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