How Coronavirus Is Impacting Running Events

Marathons and other races across the globe are being postponed or cancelled. Here’s the latest on what we know.

As the novel coronavirus rapidly spread worldwide and concern continues to grow, a number of international sporting events have been impacted, including several professional running events.

One of the first major events to see a shift in schedule was the Tokyo Marathon at the beginning of March; the marathon was only held for the elites, and the non-elite runners were given entry to the 2021 race.

With the global crisis becoming direr, race organisers have proactively started to reschedule or altogether cancel races set to take place in the next few weeks, due to the uncertainty of the virus’s spread. Some organizing bodies, like Athletics Kenya, have restricted their athletes from travelling to international events. That would keep somebody like Eliud Kipchoge from competing in the 2020 London Marathon, assuming athletes are still restricted from travelling for the April 26 race (and that the race will go on as planned).

One rather large event that’s no doubt on everyone’s minds: the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo this summer. As of now, the Games are on, but the IOC and the Tokyo event organisers are keeping a close eye on this constantly changing situation.

Below is the current status for several upcoming races. If your race isn’t listed here, we recommend keeping a close eye on your race’s website and social feeds for updates on the status of the event. Keep in mind that the decision to cancel or postpone an event of any size is not an easy call for a race director, and they are likely communicating with government officials to make sure the safety of the running community and the general public is put first.

This story will be updated as new information emerges.

Tokyo Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, March 1
  • Status: The marathon was held only for the marathon elites and wheelchair elites.

Thee Tokyo Marathon announced that runners registered for the mass participation race (approximately 38,000 athletes were expected) can defer their entry to the 2021 race.

Great Wall Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, March 1
  • Status: Canceled.

The organizers released this statement on the race’s website: “The safety of our runners is our top priority. We have thus decided, in coordination with our local partners in China, that it is in everyone’s best interest to cancel The Great Wall Marathon 2020 due to the situation with COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.”

NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships

  • Scheduled date: Friday, March 13 – Saturday, March 14
  • Status: Canceled.

On March 12, the NCAA cancelled all NCAA winter and spring championships—including the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, set to be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

USATF Masters Indoor Championships

  • Scheduled date: Friday, March 13 – Sunday, March 15
  • Status: Canceled.

“Concerns over the COVID-19 virus and added risk to those over 60 years of age led to the decision to cancel the USATF Masters Indoor Championships out of an abundance of caution,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “We support the decision of the LOC and will continue to monitor the situation related to all other USATF events.” USATF announced on March 10 that it will fully refund all entry fees.

New Balance Nationals Indoor

  • Scheduled date: Friday, March 13 – Sunday, March 15
  • Status: Canceled.

This event, scheduled to be held in The Armory in New York City, allows some of the top high school athletes to compete on the big stage. Late Wednesday night, the decision was made to cancel the event.

“Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and out of concern for the safety of all athletes, coaches and families, we’ve decided it’s in the best interest of all parties to cancel the meet,” said National Scholastic Athletics Foundation and Meet Director Jim Spier. “It’s the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make.”

NYC Half Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, March 15
  • Status: Canceled.

NYRR announced on March 10 that the race will be cancelled. Those signed up to run can either receive a full refund of their entry fee or a guaranteed non-complimentary entry to next year’s half marathon.

Barcelona Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, March 15
  • Status: Postponed to Sunday, October 25.

The marathon will allow runners to keep their registrations and run either the postponed 2020 race in October or the 2021 race a year from now.

Carlsbad 5000

  • Scheduled date: Saturday, March 21-Sunday, March 22
  • Status: Postponed.

Per an update on the race website, the Carlsbad 5000 will take place later in 2020.

“Our team cares deeply about this event and the running community as a whole, and we are doing everything we can to ensure this race can take place when it is safe to do so. Now is the time for all of us to focus on the health and safety of our families and one another.”

Rome Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, March 29
  • Status: Canceled.

Per the race website, “Unfortunately, following the health emergency that we are facing and the government ordinance, ACEA Run Rome The Marathon of 29 March has been cancelled.”

World Half Marathon Championships

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, March 29
  • Status: Postponed to Saturday, October 17.

World Athletics released a statement announcing the updates: “It is with regret that we have agreed with the Mayor of Gdynia and the organizers of the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 (March 29) to postpone this event until October this year, due to the ongoing uncertainty created by the spread of new Coronavirus internationally.”

Stanford Invitational

  • Scheduled date: Friday, April 3 – Saturday, April 4
  • Status: Canceled.

Stanford cancelled the track and field meet because of coronavirus concerns.

Paris Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, April 5
  • Status: Postponed to Sunday, October 18.

At this time, refunds are not available to runners due to the rescheduled date.

Boston Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Monday, April 20
  • Status: Postponed to Monday, September 14.

The B.A.A. announced that the Boston Marathon will be rescheduled for Monday, September 14 amid coronavirus concerns. The B.A.A. 5k will also be postponed to a later date.’

Since its inception in 1897, the Boston Marathon has never been fully cancelled, except in 1918 when a marathon military relay was run instead. The race was stopped in 2013 when two bombs were detonated at the finish line.

London Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, April 26
  • Status: Postponed to Sunday, October 4.

Shortly after the B.A.A. announced the rescheduled date for the Boston Marathon, the organisers of the London Marathon also released a statement officially moving the date to Sunday, October 4.

“The world is in an unprecedented situation grappling with a global pandemic of COVID-19 and public health is everyone’s priority,” said London Marathon event director Hugh Brasher through a statement. “We know how disappointing this news will be for so many: the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds and the millions who watch the race every year.”

Pre Classic

  • Scheduled date: Saturday, June 6 – Sunday, June 7
  • Status: Still scheduled.

Tickets for the Pre Classic were set to go on sale on Friday, March 13, but that was delayed on Thursday, March 12 because the widespread cancellations of other sporting events amid the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

  • Scheduled date: June 10 – June 13
  • Status: Canceled.

On March 12, the NCAA canceled all NCAA winter and spring championships—including the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.


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