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22 July 2021, 1pm

Prague half marathon, relay and Grand Prix cancelled

RunCzech races too big to be pandemic-proof

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RunCzech has cancelled the popular Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon and the Birell Prague Grand Prix, planned for 4-5 September, as well as the Prague Relay planned for 25 August. This is because social distancing and other limiting rules are still in place for mass participation events, as well as uncertainty surrounding new virus mutations.

Staging a world class event requires months of preparation, which the organisers don’t have, and RunCzech prizes quality too much to jeopardise it, said the organisers.

Organisers would have been required to stagger the start of those races and, with tens of thousands of runners participating, the events would have dragged on endlessly. Staggered starts would have left runners standing around for hours. It would have been a burden on the volunteers and it would have shut down the city for far too long.

According to RunCzech President Carlo Capalbo: “the citizens of Prague enthusiastically support what we’re doing here. They celebrate with us. But closing the city for whole weekend and keeping everyone waiting that long would be unfair to the runners and to the locals.”

Registered runners who have paid the entry fee can either transfer their registration to 2022 or convert the registration fee into a voucher for the e-shop www.allrunnersarebeautiful.com or donate their amount to the project ‘Get up and run’ for improving sports facilities in high schools.

Meanwhile RunCzech is still planning to stage its next regional events, the Generali Česká Red Run on 24 June and the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon on 14 August, which are in line with the health and safety measures and are feasible to take place.

Starting from August and lasting until the end of October, the organisers offer a free virtual running challenge called Mattoni FreeRun Run & Plog. The project is linked with the Plogging Cesko association and together will inspire runners to collect waste while running and make their region greener.

The destiny of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon and the events in Usti nad Labem, Liberec, and Ceske Budejovice is being discussed and monitored daily. The organizers will release further information in August.

The organization is hopeful that, with more people receiving the Covid vaccine, their regular race schedule will resume soon. In the meantime, Carlo Capalbo has a simple message of hope for runners: “You keep training. And we’ll keep thinking.”

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