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Running news

Russia avoids expulsion from World Athletics

RusAF has avoided expulsion from World Athletics after the Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin made an “unconditional” guarantee to pay the fine by the latest deadline of 15 August.

Russia paid the fine of USD 5million (4.23m EUR) and USD 1.31million (0.95m EUR) in costs three days before the deadline and so fulfilled the first condition for lifting the suspension of their membership of World Athletics. It will remain in place until subsequent conditions are met, and at least until 30 September.

As the next step in the process it is expected that he RusAF Reinstatement Commission will present a draft plan to World Athletics before 31 August.

Running news

Hofu Yomiuri Marathon will go ahead

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

Very much against the trend towards cancellation of running events for the next six months the organisers of the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon on 20 December announced that they will go ahead with this year’s race as planned with a limited field.

It will be a second-tier elite race with a small mass-participation field of 450 compared to the usual number of 3000.

Hofu’s invited elite field is usually a dozen Japan-based male athletes. Along with them, this year’s race will include around 100 men and women with Japanese Corporate League Federation registration for 2020, up to 200 male and female residents of Yamaguchi prefecture, where the race takes place, who have bettered four hours in the marathon in the last three years, and up to 100 people who live, work, or go to school in the city of Hofu and who have beaten four hours since 2017. An important race on the para sports circuit, Hofu will also accept an unspecified number of IPC-registered male and female athletes.

Although it shuts out any non-corporate league women who don’t live in Yamaguchi, Hofu’s decision to go ahead makes it the only remaining option in Japan this year for elite-level women. The Fukuoka International Marathon on 6 December has yet to make a public announcement about this year’s race, but it is likewise expected to go ahead with a limited field size. Hofu will probably serve to take the overflow men from Fukuoka depending on the final field size that is announced there.

Race news Ohme-Hochi 30km Road Race & 10km

Ohme 30km to skip 2021

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

Ohme

The organisers of the Ohme 30 km Road Race have announced that next year’s 55th edition scheduled for 21 February will not be held, with the next planned running bumped back one year.

Organisers cited the difficulty of ensuring safety and security during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. “We have carefully discussed the situation with the different organisations involved, but given the nature of a large-scale event with 20,000 participants we decided that it would not be possible to do it in a safe and secure way at this point,” they explained. The Ohme-Hochi event is the largest 30km race in the world.

The 2020 event was held in February amid concerns that it should be cancelled in the midst of the initial spread of the coronavirus in Tokyo, but with measures including the use of masks and disinfectants and a ban on high-fiving it was held without incident.

One of Japan’s most popular races, Ohme joins the Marugame Half Marathon, the Kumanichi 30 km, and six Japanese marathons with fields of over 8000 in already cancelling next year’s race. Ohme was previously cancelled in 1996, 2008 and 2014 – all due to heavy snow.

Running news

Independence day to see running for livelihoods in India

Sunfeastirao

While India has suffered a relatively low death rate from the Covid virus, with 46,000 deaths reported from 2.3 million infections, the impact on people’s livelihoods has been catastrophic.

140 million people have lost their jobs in the last three months. Most of these are daily wage earners and migrant workers. One job loss can starve an entire family.

An initiative from sports promotors Procam International aims to unite Indians this Independence Day (15 August) like never before to let the severely affected know that they are not alone.

The Sunfeast India Run As One 2020, to take place from 15 August until 13 September, calls upon Indians across the globe to support livelihoods by registering for the event.

The month-long event is a fundraiser for India’s COVID Response Fund through GiveIndia, India’s largest and most trusted donation platform.

https://sunfeastindiarunasone.procam.in

Race news Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris

Paris cancels

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The Paris Marathon, postponed from its original April date first until 18 October and then 15 November, has been cancelled.

The next event will be in April 2021. The organisers posted the following notice on the event website:

“After having tried everything to maintain the event, we see ourselves obliged to agree with the City of Paris to cancel the 2020 edition of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris and the Paris Breakfast Run. Faced with the impossibility for many participants to make themselves available for 14/15 November, and in particular those coming from foreign countries and encountering travel difficulties, it was therefore decided to meet them in 2021 for a Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris organised in a more relaxed way.

“Along with the City of Paris, we are going to do everything possible to offer you an even more beautiful next edition, worthy of the reunion of all enthusiasts with the streets of the most beautiful city in the world.

“Runners registered this year are, if they wish, already registered for the next edition. Otherwise they will receive a credit corresponding to the amount of the bib and any options taken out, or a refund after a period of 18 months.”

Date changes Pushkin Marathon

Race date for Pushkin Marathon (RUS) changed

The Pushkin Marathon (RUS) will take place on Sun 6 September 2020, not Sat 5 September 2020 as previously published.

Race news Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt Marathon cancelled

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Together with the state of Hesse and the city of Frankfurt, the organiser motion events GmbH has decided to cancel the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon 2020. The 39th edition of the oldest German city marathon should have taken place on 25 October.

Race director Jo Schindler said: “Compared to the hardships this global pandemic is causing people, states, institutions and companies, the cancellation of a sporting event is less significant. Sport, especially my beloved running sport, is the nicest thing in the world. But it must not lead to endangering life. We did not make this rejection easy and fought for solutions and alternatives to the end. Now we have to say soberly that the cancellation is inevitable.”

Last year, the event attracted 27,052 athletes. Until the corona-related uncertainty registrations for the 2020 marathon were 15% up. But the 39th Mainova Frankfurt Marathon will now take place on 31 October 2021.

The Corona Contact and Operating Restrictions Ordinance of the State of Hesse severely restricts the hosting of major events until October 31, 2020. These remain prohibited, unless the organisers can ensure that the minimum distance requirement, the hygiene guidelines and the personal registration of all those involved in the event are observed. “In our case, this also includes the spectators,” explains Race Director Schindler. “But unfortunately we cannot guarantee this recording of the audience with their location and time with hundreds of thousands of spectators on a 42.195 km route across Frankfurt.”

Race news SwissCityMarathon – Lucerne

Swiss City mini-race series

After cancellation of their flagship event, originally scheduled for 25 October, the Swiss City Marathon Lucerne organisers have put together the “YesWeRun” series with their partners Coop, ASICS, Emmi, Generali, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital and MSD.

The series comprises:

· 10 small running events organised by the SwissCityMarathon – Lucerne.

· 10 different locations in German-speaking Switzerland.

· attractive short distances (4.2–6km) with time measurement.

· held between 1 September – 23 October 2020.

· held during the week with individual starts between 17:30 – 19:30, depending on location.

· 100-300 participants per event in accordance with official conditions

· Participation fee CHF 12.00

1 – Adliswil (ZH): 1 September 2020

2.YesWeRun – Dielsdorf (ZH): 3 September 2020

3.YesWeRun – Langnau (BE): 8 September 2020

4.YesWeRun – Oberwil (BL): 10 September 2020

5. YesWeRun – Neuendorf (SO): 15 September 2020

6.YesWeRun – Lucerne Region: 17 September 2020

7. YesWeRun – Cham (ZG): 20 October 2020

8.YesWeRun – Luzern Alpenquai (LU): 21 October 2020

9. YesWeRun – Luzern Rotsee (LU): 22 October 2020

10. YesWeRun – Horw (LU): 23 October 2020

Running news

London combines elite race and virtual mass event

London

After months of intensive work and consultation with London’s authorities organisers of the London Marathon today confirmed the plans for The 40th Race on Sunday 4 October 2020.

Elite races for men, women and wheelchair athletes will take place on an enclosed looped course in St James’s Park in a secure biosphere (a contained safe environment like that of Formula 1) and times will be eligible for Olympic qualification.

The long-awaited head-to-head between Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) and Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) will headline the men’s race and world record holder Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) heads the women’s field. Manuela Schär (Switzerland) and David Weir lead the wheelchair fields. There will be no spectator access to maintain the biosphere but BBC Sport plans to broadcast eight hours of coverage during the day (Please note: access to most of St James’s Park will be maintained for local residents and park users).

Everyone with a place in the 2020 event will still have the chance to take part in The 40th Race by running the famous 26.2 mile marathon distance from home or anywhere in the world on the course of their choice. All finishers will receive the coveted finisher medal and New Balance finisher T-shirt. In addition, all runners and charities will also be able to defer their place to a future London Marathon – in 2021, 2022 or 2023.

Next year the London Marathon will move from its usual April date to Sunday 3 October to give the best chance for the mass race to return in 2021.

Running news

Masks during exercise

According to a report in the UK Daily Telegraph French medics have criticised the requirement for runners in many French cities to wear face masks as “nonsensical”.

They argue that as the runner’s sweat seeps into the mask it impedes air flow unto the mouth and traps organic matter in the mesh of the mask, causing it to lose its effectiveness.

Masks would have to be changed regularly throughout the period of exercise to be effective. Many doctors argue that maintaining physical distance is a much more effective way of safeguarding against the spread of infection.

AIMS news Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon

Reykjavik Marathon cancels

Jonar Hildur, race director of the Islandsbanki Reykjavík Marathon reports that the 2020 race, scheduled for 22 August, has been cancelled.

“Recent changes here in Iceland have made it impossible for us to go forward with this event and fulfil the most recent requirements of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management which went into effect on the 31 July. Registered participants have been sent an e-mail with further instructions.

“We hope to have the next race on the 21 August 2021.”

Race news Kyoto Marathon

Japanese races cancelled into 2021

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

Three Japanese marathons in Spring 2021 have announced cancellation. The Kitakyushu and Kyoto Marathons, both AIMS members, are usually held in February.

The third – the Koga Hanamomo Marathon – usually takes place in mid-March but is now cancelled for the second year in a row because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 Kyoto Marathon will be held as on online-only marathon. By using a phone app runners can run the online marathon whenever and wherever they like.

The organisers said: “To date 142,347 runners have traversed the streets of Kyoto and smiled at its riches. We hope that the online marathon will motivate you all and serve as a bridge across these troubled coronavirus times to a better day to come.

“We’ll also be holding a running event at the marathon’s start point at Nishi-Kyogoku Sports Park on its original date, 21 February 2021. Details on both it and the online marathon will be published on the race website in early September.”

The Kitakyushu Marathon organisers said: “Founded to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kitakyushu’s incorporation as a city, after seven successful editions we have been making preparations for the Kitakyushu Marathon’s eighth running in February next year. While moving forward we have come to the conclusion that we cannot guarantee the safety of everyone involved in the event [so] have unfortunately decided to cancel our 2021 race.”

Running news

2019 Fukuoka winner suspended

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

The Athletics Integrity Unit announced a four-year suspension for 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon winner El Mahjoub Dazza (MAR).

Findings from Dazza’s biological passport indicated unrealistic haemoglobin values. The AIU rejected his explanation of changes in intensity of altitude training as “highly improbable.”

Dazza will lose validity of all results he recorded from 4 May 2019 to 10 January 2020, with a four-year suspension to follow. Included among these are his 2019 Prague Marathon and 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon titles. In the latter race runner-up Taku Fujimoto is elevated to become winner.

News from World Athletics

Russian athletics federation faces expulsion

The Council of World Athletics has announced that the Russian Federation (RusAF) will be expelled from membership of World Athletics if it does not make the outstanding payments of a USD 5 million (420m EUR) fine and pay USD 1.31 million (954,600 EUR) in costs before 15 August.

The Council followed the recommendations of the Taskforce, delivered by chairperson Rune Andersen in his report. Andersen expressed his disappointment that the Taskforce had seen “very little in terms of changing the culture of Russian athletics” in the past five years.

Russian Minister of Sport Oleg Matytsin has sent a letter to World Athletics, which promises payment of the overdue amounts by 15 August, in the light of which the Taskforce’s recommendations were:

  • To recommend to Congress that it resolves to expel RusAf from membership of World Athletics, in accordance with Article 14.1 of the Constitution, on the basis that the matters that led Congress to suspend RusAF from membership pursuant to Article 13.7 have not been satisfactorily addressed.
  • To recommend that a Special Congress meeting be convened as soon as possible to allow Congress to consider and vote on the proposal to expel RusAF. In the circumstances of the ongoing and worsening pandemic, that Special Congress meeting should if possible be held virtually, to avoid delay.
  • That pending Congress’s decision, the “Neutral Athlete” mechanism will not be made available to Russian athletes.

This decision is suspended, but will come into effect immediately and automatically if any of the following conditions are not met:

  • Payment in full of the two outstanding RusAF invoices to be received on or before close of business in Monaco on 15 August 2020.
  • The RusAF Reinstatement Commission to provide the draft plan referenced in the third paragraph of Council’s decision of 12 March 2020 – of suitable scope and depth, with an implementation plan and progress indicators – to the Taskforce on or before 31 August 2020.
  • Any changes required by the Taskforce to the draft plan to be incorporated to the Taskforce’s satisfaction on or before 30 September 2020.
  • The Plan to be brought into effect and satisfactory progress achieved against the plan (as determined by the Taskforce, based on the input of the international experts appointed by World Athletics), as reported by the Taskforce to Council at each of its subsequent meetings.

In relation to Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANAs):

  • Athletes may apply for ANA status for 2020 competitions in accordance with the process specified by the Doping Review Board.
  • No ANA status will be granted to any athlete for 2020 competitions unless and until conditions (1) to (3) above are met.
  • If conditions (1) to (3) are met, then in accordance with Council’s March decision, (1) no more than ten athletes (in total) will be granted ANA status for World Athletics Series events. (The ony such event scheduled for 2020 is the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia); (2) there is no cap on ANAs for other international competitions in 2020.
  • Council’s March 2020 decision to allow up to 10 Authorised Neutral Athletics for World Athletics Series events and the Tokyo Olympics will be reviewed no earlier than December 2020, based on an assessment of the progress made by RusAF against the reinstatement plan.

The Council decided in March to sanction RusAF’s admitted breaches of the Anti-Doping Rules during the Lysenko investigation with a USD 10 million fine (8.4m EUR), with USD 5 million to be paid by 1 July 2020 and the other USD 5 million suspended. The Council also required RusAF to pay related costs by 1 July 2020.

Race news Mount Fuji Marathon

Mt Fuji cancels

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

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The organisers of the 29 November Mt. Fuji International Marathon have announced that this year’s race has been cancelled.

In light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis organisers had previously postponed opening race registrations, but in consideration of the health and safety of local residents in Fujikawaguchiko who would serve as race volunteers, and of the inevitability of crowded conditions at the start and at water stations, the decision was made to cancel.

In place of the marathon, the organisers plan to stage a virtual race in November. Runners from all over the world will be able to participate, and organisers are working on plans to make it an experience worthy of the Mt. Fuji name. Details will be announced in late August on the race website.

With 7200 finishers last time, the Mt Fuji International Marathon was the last remaining Japanese marathon in 2020 with over 5000 finishers that had not yet cancelled. Only the Fukuoka International Marathon on 6 December and Hofu Marathon on 20 December are still standing among the country’s top-tier events.

Race news Half Marathon Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP

Valencia Half cancelled

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The 2020 Medio Marathon Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP, scheduled for Sunday 25 October has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

The event was the final race in the inaugural year of the SuperHalfs series – all of which have now been cancelled and/or postponed into 2021.

All registered runners will receive instructions from the organising club SD Correcaminos on the options available regarding their 2020 race entries and how to proceed with their chosen option:

1. To swap the 2020 entry for a place in the 2021 edition (24 October 2021).

2. To request a full refund of the entry (with the exception of the voluntary charitable donation, which will be paid as planned to PayaSOSpital, this year’s charity).

3. To donate the entry fee as a token of your solidarity with the Race Organisation.

“Although all of our plans are delayed we keep our focus on working hard to set up an innovative running series that will bring together five of the world’s most beautiful half marathons with the aim of promoting running, environmental sustainability and tourism,” said a spokesperson.

SuperHalfs Race Calendar 2021

27/03/2021 – Prague

09/05/2021 – Lisbon

19/09/2021 – Copenhagen

03/10/2021 – Cardiff

24/10/2021 – Valencia

News from World Athletics

Olympic Marathon qualification period resumes on 1 September

World Athletics will lift the suspension of the Tokyo Olympic qualification system for the marathon and race walk events from 1 September 2020, due to concerns over the lack of qualifying opportunities that may be available for road athletes before the qualification period finishes on 31 May 2021.

The original suspension period, from 6 April to 30 November 2020, was introduced due to the competition and training disruption caused by the global pandemic, and remains in place for all other track and field events.

Road athletes will be able to register Olympic qualifying entry standards from 1 September to 30 November, but only in pre-identified, advertised and authorised races being staged on World Athletics certified courses, with in-competition drug testing on site.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said it had become apparent that marathon and race walk athletes may have very limited opportunities to register Olympic qualifying times in 2021 due to the uncertainty around staging mass participation events over the next year which relies heavily on cities around the world agreeing to stage them.

“Most of the major marathons have already been cancelled or postponed for the remainder of this year and the evolution of the pandemic makes it difficult to predict if those scheduled for the first half of next year will be able to go ahead,” Coe said.

“That situation, combined with the fact that endurance athletes in the marathon and race walks can only produce a very limited number of high-quality performances a year, would really narrow their qualifying window without this adjustment.

“We have also been assured by the Athletics Integrity Unit that the anti-doping system is capable of protecting the integrity of road races during this period and will put in place strict testing criteria for all athletes.”

The Athletes’ Commission noted that this decision does not assist all athletes, given the travel restrictions still imposed by some countries, but will support the majority of road athletes in the particularly difficult circumstances they face to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

In making the decision, the World Athletics Council also noted that the conditions for making the Olympic standards at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 were challenging for road event athletes whereas the conditions for in-stadium events were excellent as the results showed.

Running news

Ban Russians from Olympics, says former anti-doping chief

BBC News broadcast an interview with former doping mastermind turned whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov in which he urged that no Russian athletes should be allowed to take part in the postponed Tokyo Olympics next year.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has ruled that Russian athletes who prove they are clean will be able to compete in Japan under a neutral flag but Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory, said: “It should be an absolute blanket ban without any excuses or admissions of athletes.”

Russia’s appeal against a punishment that rules it out of both the Tokyo Games and the 2022 football World Cup will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in November.

News from World Athletics

Olympic Marathon award ceremonies

World Athletics have announced that for the first time in Olympic history the women’s and men’s marathon victory ceremonies will both be held during the Closing Ceremony at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Inclusion of the marathon medal presentations in the Closing Ceremony will cap the 10-day athletics programme which follows the timetable previously announced for the 32nd Summer Olympic Games prior to their postponement in March.

The men’s Marathon takes place on the final day of the Games, Sunday 8 August, in Sapporo, capital of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The women’s race is 24 hours earlier. Apart from the Marathons and race walks athletics competition will be spread over 16 sessions at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.

As announced in October Sapporo will host the marathons and race walks as part of a wide range of measures taken by Tokyo 2020 organisers in consultation with the IOC and international federations to mitigate the effects of the high temperatures which may occur in Tokyo.

Race news Swissalpine

Swissalpine finds success with new safety concept

By Wilfried Raatz | German Road Races

Raatz

The 35th edition of the traditional Swissalpine running spectacle was the acid test for larger running events since the coronavirus struck.

The relief was clear to see for Andrea Tuffli, the Founder and President of Swissalpine. “The concept, which we had completely redeveloped within two months and coordinated with the cantonal administration and the municipality of Davos, has proven itself. The start and finish area is the most important sector; here we were able to sign the maximum number clearly with block starts of 300 runners and a minimum of helpers from the organisation,” said the 78-year-old, pioneer of the Swiss mountain running and trail scene.

“The block start system with a responsible protection concept worked well, not least because of the discipline of the participants. I can imagine using this system next year, hopefully without masks.”

Swiss Athletics President Christoph Seiler came to get an idea of ​​a major event in which almost 2000 runners competed over the two days of the event. “Davos sets an important example in the running calendar, which has been severely affected by the corona pandemic. It is impressive what Andrea Tuffli and his team have accomplished in a short time.”

Race news Manulife Danang International Marathon

Danang goes virtual after new Covid outbreak

Danang

The Manulife Danang International Marathon, scheduled for 9 August, has been replaced by a virtual event. Organisers circulated the news to registered participants after detection of four new confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Danang City after 99 days without social infection in Vietnam.

The race statement read: “Our long-standing mission has always been to provide a unique running experience at one of the most magnificent marathon courses in Asia for thousands of runners from across the world. However, we – as the organiser of the Manulife Danang International Marathon, can only do this when we can guarantee the safety for all participants, the running community, the host city as well as the locals.

“Our preparations for the race have been ready and this year’s medal is awaiting our runners. But, as [the source of] the new reported confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Danang City remains unknown, in order to ensure the health and safety of all participants, we regret to inform you that Manulife Danang International Marathon 2020 will be officially cancelled.

“We have decided to change the Manulife Danang International Marathon 2020 into ‘Virtual Race’ format.”

The Vietnamese Government has sealed off the city from outside visitors and is organising the evacuation of 80,000 people, many of them tourists, as a precaution against the further spread of the virus. To date Vietnam has had 420 cases of infection and no deaths, although the condition of one of the four new cases is reported as critical.

Running news

Runners can join Gdynia elite virtually

Gdynia

World Athletics and the Local Organising Committee of the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 have launched a new initiative – a virtual mass race on 17 October, the same day as the world’s elite runners will compete for the championship.

The aim is to encourage runners all around the world to run a half marathon wherever they are on 17 October 2020.

“This does not mean that the ‘real’ mass race we have planned in Gdynia will not take place,” said Michal Dretich, Head of the LOC. “The virtual competition is an addition to our event.”

Intense efforts have been made to ensure the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 – including the mass race – can be held in 2020. Final decisions will be taken by the end of August. However, amateur runners who have previously registered for the mass race in Gdynia can switch to virtual competition, keeping all the benefits from the real mass race, including an Asics t-shirt, an official backpack and a uniquely designed finisher medal.

The idea behind the virtual run is far more universal, involving the global running community. As the event’s official motto says: ‘All you need is running.’

Joining the virtual run is completely free – you only need to create an account on the specifically created online platform AllYouNeedIsRunning.com. Virtual runners can choose to add to their experience by purchasing a finisher medal, an ‘All you need is running’ t-shirt or other merchandise.

On 17 October all that is required is that each participant runs the same day, same distance, in any place and at any pace, so that the entire running world becomes part of the World Athletics Series event that will take place simultaneously in Gdynia, Poland.

For more information see: AllYouNeedIsRunning.com .

Running news

RunBritain produces new guidance

In the UK all RunBritain licensed races are cancelled until 31 July. The reason for this is that Covid-19 guidance to race organisers on staging road or multi-terrain events that meet the Government guidelines issued on 10 July have now been produced.

It will be a condition of licensed races that they indicate that they have read the Covid-19 guidelines; have understood these new requirements and agreed to implement them as appropriate to their event ( access guidelines here ).

The Covid-19 guidelines will require:

  • Race organisers to draft additional plans such as a Covid-19 Risk Assessment
  • A number of measures to be introduced which may require extra resource in terms of time, equipment, personnel and budget.
  • Additional communication with participants to update them on arrangements made by an event to mitigate against the risk of catching Covid-19

Running news

Honolulu hopes for Japanese runners?

Mizuno honolulu marathon 700x350

Mizuno has been announced as the new clothing sponsor of the Honolulu Marathon for the 2020 event – still scheduled for 13 December 2020.

The Japanese apparel specialist will provide all finisher, commemorative and volunteer shirts and sell official merchandise at the Honolulu Marathon Expo.

The announcement comes at a time when nearly all Japanese marathons previously scheduled for 2020 have been postponed to 2021 and some events in the first two months of 2021 are already being cancelled, most recently the Ubusuki Nanohara Marathon, planned for 10 January. There are no prospects for Japanese marathon runners below elite level to compete domestically for the rest of the year.

The Honolulu Marathon was first held in 1973 and is the fourth largest marathon in the United States. From inception it was hugely popular in Japan as it was the most available marathon for non-elite Japanese Marathon runners before the advent of mass marathons in Japan only 13 years ago. To date about 470,000 Japanese runners have raced at the Honolulu Marathon. The size of the Honolulu Marathon field dropped from 24,500 in 2006 to 20,000 in 2007 after the first mass marathon in Japan was held in Tokyo that year. For this year at least Honolulu Marathon may again stand out as the best chance for Japanese Marathon runners to race. Hawaii to date has had 1400 cases and 25 deaths. Although it has not yet waived its 14-day quarantine requirement such an announcement is anticipated.

“We are particularly proud to welcome such a premier athletic company at this difficult time,” said Jim Barahal, CEO & President of the Honolulu Marathon Association. “This demonstrates Mizuno’s long-term commitment to the people of Hawaii and Japan.”

Running news

Sole remaining major Japanese race of 2020 cancels

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

Shonanlogo main

Organisers of the 6 December Shonan International Marathon, with 16,821 finishers last year, announced that the race will be postponed to an optimistic date of 28 February 2021.

The race is one of Japan’s biggest marathons and the only one this year with over 10,000 finishers that hadn’t yet cancelled. The press release also said that in an effort to eliminate plastic garbage along the seaside course, there would be no drink tables provided at the race and that runners would need to carry their own drinks.

The announcement of Shonan’s postponement means there are just three significant marathons left in Japan from October through the end of the year. The Mt. Fuji Marathon on 29 November, with 7200 finishers in its last edition, is scheduled to make an announcement by the end of next week That it will be cancelled seems all but a given. The Fukuoka International Marathon on 6 December has yet to make any public announcement.

The Hofu Marathon on 20 December offered a ray of hope when it posted pictures of its course being officially remeasured and recertified. If Fukuoka goes ahead it will give elite Japan-based men the opportunity to get in one last marathon this year. Barring Fukuoka offering an elite women’s race for the first time ever, Hofu’s remeasurement news could indicate that it plans to focus on giving women the same opportunity.

Running news

ISTAF to go ahead in Berlin

By Jörg Wenig | race-news-service.com

Organisers have got the green light for ISTAF 2020 – the oldest athletics meeting in the world – to take place as planned in Berlin on Sunday 13 September.

It will be one of the first sports events where spectators will be present despite social distancing measures being in force because of the Coronavirus. Thanks to a detailed shielding and hygiene concept, the ISTAF organisers plan to have around 3500 fans in Berlin’s Olympic stadium.

The meeting director Martin Seeber explained: “Our aim is that ISTAF can set down a marker for the sport and be a beacon for athletics. Together with our partners we want to show that even in these difficult times we are there for the fans and athletes. Certainly it will be different with 3500 instead of the usual 45,000 spectators. But perhaps it can be a first small step back towards normality.”

Race news Haspa Marathon Hamburg

Hamburg abandons 2020 plans

Major Hamburg sporting events, which had been postponed to late summer and autumn 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic will no longer take place this year but will be postponed to 2021.

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the organisers of several major events in Hamburg agreed after intensive discussions. Sports senator Andy Grote said: “This decision is painful for all of us, but unfortunately unavoidable. I am impressed with the great energy with which the organisers have worked out modified concepts in order to be able to realise the major sports events in Hamburg under strict consideration of infection protection. However, we found that the legal framework for holding larger events will remain very severely limited until at least 31 October. The hygiene regulations applicable in any case and the necessary contact tracking could not have been ensured at events with thousands of spectators, so we had no other choice.”

The next Haspa Marathon Hamburg will take place on 25 April 2021.

Race news Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon

Kagawa-Marugame cancelled

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

Organisers of the 75th anniversary Kagawa-Marugame International Half Marathon scheduled for 7 February 2021 have announced that it will not take place.

“After careful consideration we determined that, with no visible end to the coronavirus crisis in sight, for the health and safety of participants, volunteers, staff, medical and rescue personnel, fans along the course and everyone else involved with our event, our 75th running must be postponed for one year,” said the event organisers.

“We hope for a solution to the coronavirus situation and look forward to welcoming you all to our next race on 6 February 2022. We will be busily preparing for that day and thank you all for your continued support of the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon.”

This is the third major Japanese race of 2021 and the first World Athletics label race in 2021 worldwide to cancel. Marugame is Japan’s premier winter half marathon. It was the site of a new Japanese men’s national record and four other national records at this year’s edition, and a key tuneup every year for top-level Japanese athletes competing in the Tokyo Marathon, Lake Biwa Marathon and Nagoya Women’s Marathon.

Race news NN Marathon Rotterdam

NN Marathon Rotterdam postponed until next year

The 40th edition of the NN Marathon Rotterdam has been postponed again due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

It is now scheduled to take place on 10-11 April 2021. Every individual runner with a place in the 2020 edition will be able to use their place in the rescheduled event. All participants have already received an e-mail with further information.

“The restrictive guidelines related to COVID-19 made it impossible to organise the event in a way that traditionally fits the NN Marathon Rotterdam,” said the organisers. “It is a difficult decision for us but our main priority continues to be safeguarding the health of our participants, volunteers, spectators and stakeholders.”

The race organisation is currently working to develop a “revolutionary” app that simulates the experience of running the NN Marathon Rotterdam. Runners will be invited to experience the app in due course.

Running news

Seven Hills 5K invitational run in the Netherlands

By Helmut Winter | German Road Races

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In the Dutch town of Nijmegen, the restrictions caused by the spread of the coronavirus were handled on 19 July by a run with a reduced number of participants and with the public largely excluded.

In a park on the outskirts of the city a select 20 athletes ran a distance of 5km on approximately a four-lap course. The run was staged by the organisers of the legendary 15km Zevenheuvelenloop and saw four national records recorded by the men. As with similar events in recent weeks the run was not announced in advance.

The top Dutch runner Maureen Koster (NED) was paced by Bram Som for the first two laps of the women’s race. Then she ran alone to win in 15:25. In Europe this year only Alina Reh was faster (15:22) at the Berlin 5km Invitational held a week earlier.

The men started six minutes later and a group of six ran 2:41 for the first 1000m and went through 2000m in 5:24. Only Qassim Oumaiz, Mike Foppen (NED) and Noah Schutte (NED) were ahead at 3km after a fast kilometre of 2:39. Soon afterwards Oumaiz broke away to win in 13:19. The 23-year-old Spanish runner with Moroccan roots made a tremendous final sprint for the European record of 13:18 set in February by the Frenchman Jimmy Gressier, but fell one second short.

The time of the winner was a new Spanish national record. Mike Foppen in 13:31 and David Nilsson (SWE) in 13:42 set national records for the Netherlands and Sweden.

Race news Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps Marathon goes to virtual-only

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The 2020 Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Weekend events scheduled for Friday, 23 October to Sunday 25 October in Arlington, Virginia and the US capital will shift to virtual-only status due to ongoing public health concerns and the guidelines of local governments.

“We explored various approaches to safely execute a live event and held numerous meetings with Marine Corps leadership, local government and public health officials,” said Rick Nealis, director of the Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO). “We understand this is disappointing news for many, but we could no longer envision a way to gather together in compliance with safety guidelines. While we are unable to celebrate in-person this October, we [will] bring the 45th anniversary event to the homes of runners around the world through a rewarding and engaging virtual experience.”

Race news Movistar Medio Maratón de Madrid

Medio Maraton de Madrid cancelled

The 2020 edition of the Movistar Medio Maraton de Madrid has been cancelled due to coronavirus-related health and safety concerns for the athletes, spectators, volunteers and staff.

After being postponed from March 29th to October 4th, finally the organisation made the decision due to the current situation worldwide and the uncertainty about a massive event with almost 20,000 participants.

The Carrera ProFuturo 5K, the Expo and other side events have also been cancelled.

“Safety is the main concern and we look forward to hosting the 20th edition on April 11 2021,” said the organisers.

Running news

Thousands on the runway in Prague

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Runners flowed into the check in, showed their documentation, got their start numbers, passed the security and boarded through gate D6.

The airport shuttle buses took them to the runway but instead of entering the plane they lined up at the start of the 5km “Runway Run”.

2,674 runners in total secured their places in this sold-out once-in-a-lifetime event. They were split into different categories to abide by the public and health safety regulations. Categories included an astonishing Sunset Run on Saturday evening, or a sunny Breakfast Run on Sunday morning, with many of them doing the 3km Family Run distance. Runners were running while planes were taking-off or landing over their heads.

To spice up the excitement, RunCzech and the Czech Athletic Federation organised an Elite Run with a live broadcast on Czech National TV. Four Czech elite men and four women created mixed relays in an exhibition race of 500-1000-500-1000 metres on the runway.

Afterward, runners and their families continued to the Runway Park where they could see exhibited aircraft, closely examine the airport’s special equipment, and spend the day with an entertaining and educational programme for the whole family.

RunCzech founder Carlo Capalbo said: “As the world awakens from bearing scars of the pandemic, this event shows us that runners are eager to come back to their passion. Our [aim] is to demonstrate that the country is safe and competent, that the Czech Republic is running.”

Race news Halfmarathon Altötting

Hygiene plan for Altötting

Organisers of the Altötting Half Marathon in Bavaria have announced its plans to allow the race to still go ahead in compliance with strict safety regulations.

“In close coordination with the [state] health department, we have developed a hygiene concept that allows up to 1000 participants on the routes of the 21.1 km and 6km race on 13 September,” said the race organisers. There will be no fun run.

Everything is slimmed down: no award ceremony, no changing rooms, no showers. The advertised medals or participant gifts will not be issued but there will be replacement medals for the 1000 approved participants.

Registration will close after 1000 entries have been received. There will be no late registrations.

The registration deadline is moved forward by one week (to 30 August) to have time to send start numbers by post. The increase in registration fees due from 1 July has been withdrawn due to the cutback in services. An option for clothes storage in emergencies (e.g. for runners arriving by rail) is still to be discussed.

Main coronavirus precautions:
· Use mouth protection in the warm-up area (Dultplatz is available, observe distance rules).
· Running without a mask, but the mask must be put on again in the finish area. We provide masks in case someone loses theirs while running.
· Delegation of monitoring personnel (e.g. dispersing groups)
· Start numbers will be sent by post.
· Flying start / no mass start, or small groups. As a result, strong equalization. Only approx. 500 runners each on the half marathon or 6km route.
· Reduce stations in the forest to 2. No catering for 6 km. Dispensing of packaged water (bags), dispensing on tables etc. at least 3-4 meters apart, only one bag per table, then refill. There is no electrolyte, no bananas etc. Personnel with MNS and gloves. Dropped bags will be destroyed (after contact with the runner).
· The address etc. of the participants must be made known via the registration system. For reports about companies / schools, this can easily be requested (or must be specified as a required field when registering)
· Do not bring accompanying persons
· All participants will be informed about the rules (e-mail, homepage)
· Information to all participants via facebook and e-mail: Each participant must meet the following requirements:
There are no health restrictions or symptoms of illness. There was no contact with an infected person for at least two weeks. The hygiene measures (keep your distance, regular washing and disinfecting your hands) are observed.
· Awarding of medals at the finish: medals are placed on a table where the runners take them themselves (supervision by staff)
· Finish line arrangements: There is no electrolyte. Delivery of fruit, energy bars and water in a bag. The runner has to keep moving and cannot sit down. No banks etc. Due to the strong equalisation at the start and the strong reduction in the number of participants no crowds are to be expected.
· Atmospheric mile: music bands etc. only in the outside area, so as not to attract spectators.
· Urinal: yes, but max. 3 people at a time. Staff supervision, also to disperse groups forming when queuing
· Toilets in the three adjacent schools.
· No late registrations
· No award ceremony
· No showers
· No hand in of clothes
· No sports fair
· No childcare
· No warm-up program
· No pasta party
· No stilt walkers etc .
· No changing rooms
· no children’s run
· no balloons
· no Dixi toilets
· No massages at the finish
· no meals in the registration area

Race news BMW Berlin-Marathon

Berlin organisers thank runners for loyalty

When the BMW Berlin Marathon, planned for 26-27 September 2020, was cancelled participants were offered two options.

These were: first, the transfer of the personalised race entry to the BMW Berlin Marathon next year on 25 September (skaters) and 26 September 2021 (wheelchair athletes, handbikers and runners); second, 100% repayment of the participation fee. Participants had until the end of last week (10 July) to select one of the two options. SCC EVENTS is delighted, and very grateful, that 85% of the runners have decided to transfer their personalised race entries to next year’s BMW Berlin Marathon 2021.

As managing directors of SCC EVENTS, Christian Jost and Jürgen Lock were in awe: “We have always been aware of the strong community spirit of the BMW Berlin Marathon. This enormous spirit grows from event to event, but the figure of 85% of the athletes choosing to transfer their race entries fills us and our team with pride. SCC EVENTS would like to thank all its participants for their great loyalty.” In this sense, all signs for the BMW Berlin Marathon 2021 are set to green.

Race news Košice Peace Marathon

40th anniversary of women in Košice Peace Marathon

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40 years ago women ran in the Košice Marathon for the first time.

There had already been pioneering female marathon runners from the mid-1960s so it was time for things to get put into motion in Košice as well.

On 5 October 1980 women lined up at the start in front of IAAF President Adrian Paulen and World Peace Council President Rómeš Čandra. Fourteen of them reached the finish line – twice as many as in the men’s first race in 1924. There was no lack of competitive drama either as Šárka Balcarová crossed the finish line first with a mere six-second lead over Vlasta Rulcová.

The men’s field in 1980 had over 1000 entrants but, as so often, expectations went unfulfilled. Two-time Olympic champion Waldemar Cierpinski, just two months after his victory in Moscow, was clearly running out of gas at the end of the season. He dominated the first part of the race, but was unable to finish. As a result, the Soviet Union’s Alexej Ľagušev became the surprise winner. Home-grown runner Pavol Madár also had his day. Finishing fourth overall he became the Czechoslovak champion, and with a time of 2:15:44 recorded the fastest time of his career.

The diversity and quality of the field was evidenced by 12 countries being represented among the first 20 men’s finishers, 28 runners finished in under 2:20 and the 100th runner to reach the finish line tallied a respectable time of 2:35:25.

Race news Vienna City Marathon

Running together restores feeling of fun in Vienna

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It was smaller than usual, with new rules, but it was finally a “real” run again.

The VCM Pop-up-Run over 5km and with 250 runners was held in the evening of 15 July in the Prater as the first popular running competition in Vienna after a break of several months.

Dividing runners over several starting time slots created a special mood. The word “finally” was on everyone’s lips: finally the joy of running together, coming together, being allowed to crossing the finish line or cheer for others. It was a re-discovery of people doing the same thing and having fun doing it.

“Hardly ever have we looked forward to an event as much as we did today,” said Vienna City Marathon managing director Gerhard Wehr. “We created a concept for this run so that – with responsibility and the common sense of the runners – we could carry out an event that is fun for the participants. Coming together for a common sport is simply beautiful and the core of what we do. You can see this all the more clearly when events still cannot take place due to Covid-19.”

Because several start time windows were used the results were open until the end. The atmosphere grew until the final run, especially thanks to the Cheering Zone of the adidas Runners Vienna.

The runners were obviously in good shape. This fits with a survey of runners from 139 countries, which showed that during the period of the strictest coronavirus conditions people ran more than they had before. Runners who had previously been active once or twice a week recorded significantly higher training volumes. Many of them have probably discovered running for the first time and have also developed a desire to participate in competitions.

No more than 64 participants were allowed per slot, who were free to choose their starting time. This way there was a very relaxed and contactless starting process. For the starting grid there were markings at a distance of one metre on the main avenue. The Covid-19 rules were sent to all participants in advance by mail and were displayed on signs on site. The members of the organising team wore mouth and nose protectors and, in areas such as the drinks counter, gloves. The event concept was approved by the authorities, so that a small event could be organised.

“We would like to thank all helpers, runners and fans who created a great atmosphere and followed the Covid-19 rules with sensitivity and common sense,” said the organisers. “We want to motivate you to keep running so we are already planning the next VCM pop-up run this summer.”

Running news

Manchester cancels

The Manchester Marathon (GBR), which had previously been re-scheduled from April to Sunday 11 October, has been cancelled. The next event will take place on Sunday 11 April 2021.

Manchester was due to take place one week after the rescheduled London Marathon which is still listed to go ahead on 4 October despite the cancellation of nearly all major marathons up to and beyond that date including four of the six “World Marathon Majors”. The only WMM event to have been held this year was the Tokyo Marathon on 8 March but it was restricted to an elite field only.

Race news Vienna City Marathon

Vienna pop-up run

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After months of cancellations and virtual challenges, the first “real” run for amateur runners will take place in Vienna on Wednesday 15 July.

Start and finish are on the Prater Hauptallee at the scene of Eliud Kipchoge’s “1:59 finish”.

250 runners will start from 17.30 in five 15-minute start time ‘windows’. For the starting line-up marks are placed on the main avenue at a distance of 1 metre apart. The course is a measured 5km lap. Participants can freely choose their start time within the slot. Results will be according to net timekeeping. Registration is closed.

“More people than ever have run in the past few months, but events where the runners come together in a race were simply missing,” said Gerhard Wehr, Managing Director of the Vienna City Marathon. “This run is the smallest sporting event we have ever organised, but the anticipation is huge. We are aware of the overall situation. We have created a concept for this run so that we can responsibly carry out an event that is fun for the participants.”

• Food: At the finish there are drinks (in bottles) and the ice cream reward.
• Use our PET collection containers to recycle the bottles.
• No showers, changing facilities or luggage storage
• The stadium pool offers an ideal opportunity for refreshment in the immediate vicinity. The ticket office closes at 19.00, the pool at 19:45.

Running news

Tokyo Grand Prix to go ahead in August

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

On 13 July the JAAF officially confirmed that the Seiko Golden Grand Prix meet originally scheduled to have been held in May will take place on 23 August at Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium.

It will be the first track and field event staged at the rebuilt Olympic Stadium.

As part of the World Athletics Continental Tour the Golden Grand Prix hosts some of the world’s top international athletes every year, but amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis that is not possible this year. Participants will be limited to athletes within Japan giving some of the country’s highest-potential high school talent the chance to compete in the meet against some of the biggest domestic names in hopes of making up for the cancellation of this year’s National High School Championships.

The Golden Grand Prix will be held without spectators but will be broadcast by TBS and a livestream is also planned.

Translator’s note: Although this article could be interpreted to mean Japan-resident international athletes already in the country may be eligible to compete, a direct communication from meet athlete liaison Ellie Kawai on 13 July confirmed that only athletes of Japanese citizenship will be allowed to take part. As such, the first track and field event at the 2020 Olympic Stadium will be held without fans or foreigners.

Source article in Japanese

Race news Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris

Paris postponed again

The Paris Marathon has been rescheduled for a second time.

The race originally planned for April was postponed until October, but the organisers have now announced a new date of 15 November.

The race organisers said: “In order to be able to organise the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris in the best possible conditions we decided, in concert with the Paris City Hall and the Paris Police Prefecture, to postpone the date of the event. The new date is now set for 15 November 2020. The Paris Breakfast Run will be held on Saturday 14 November. Of course, we will take into account the evolution of the situation and will scrupulously respect the directives of the health authorities and the State services with which we work closely.

“Each registrant will receive an e-mail by the end of July detailing the practical details. This email will specify that all participants in the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris will be automatically registered for the 15 November 2020 edition. Those registered for the Paris Breakfast Run will be automatically registered for 14 November. Those who are not available on this date will have 15 days to communicate it and consequently benefit from a credit usable until 31 December 2021 to participate in any ASO event. After this date, if the credit has not been used in full, they will be reimbursed for the remaining sums in the bank account used for registration.

“We are well aware of the inconvenience caused by this exceptional situation and the impact on your organisation. We thank you for your patience and will do everything we can to welcome you in the best possible conditions.”

Race news Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Chicago cancelled

On Monday 13 July event organisers and the City of Chicago announced the decision to cancel the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and all race weekend activities in response to the ongoing public health concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Each registered participant will have the option to receive a refund for their 2020 race entry or to defer their place and entry fee to a future edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon (2021, 2022 or 2023).

2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon registered participants will be contacted via email with additional information and the opportunity to select one of the options. For further information see: https://www.chicagomarathon.com/cancellation/cancellation-faqs/

Running news

Karlovac 10K run in Croatia

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On 11 July in Karlovac, Croatia, the 8th Heineken 0.0 Karlovački cener became the first World Athletics “label” race to be held since 8 March.

To comply with local health and safety recommendations participation was limited to 545 runners in the mass race and 36 in the elite race which followed an hour later. Heavy rains and high winds kept spectators away but conditions had improved by the time the elite field started.

Sebastian Hendel (30:13) of Germany and Croatia’s Matea Parlov Kostro (33:57) were convincing winners. Joash Kipruto Koech, a Kenyan runner currently based in Italy, and Burundi’s Jean Marie Niyomukiza – who are both in the same training group – followed Hendel home in 30:50 and 31:07 while Hendel’s wife Kristina (34:07) and Clementine Mukandanga of Rwanda completed the women’s podium.

Running news

USM and professionals release guidance for event organisers

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) has worked with a select task force of industry professionals to create the first version of the COVID-19 Considerations for Sport and Entertainment Venues and Events.

The Guide is designed to aid professionals in their decision-making regarding event planning, event operations, and other business operations based on national, state, and local municipal requirements.

NCS4 set out to make The Guide both versatile and scalable for use from any industry and any sized event. With a situation as fluid and as unpredictable as COVID-19 has proven to be it is important to remember these considerations do not supersede any local, state, or national guidelines. These considerations seek to highlight areas of concern that may need further study or demand alterations to chart a path forward for returning to events.

The Guide will be a value-added resource to the NCS4’s Best Practice Guides that have been used as the safety and security standard in intercollegiate athletics, interscholastic athletics, professional sports and entertainment facilities, and marathon and endurance events. Each year, NCS4 updates their guides after collecting information gathered at their annual forums. The newly updated 2020 editions of the guides were released on 13 July 2020 and can be accessed for free at: https://ncs4.usm.edu/knowledgeportal/best-practices

The Guide will be updated and amended as the global crisis of COVID-19 continues to evolve.

Running news

Leicester race organisers plan virtual world tour

Replacing the original Run Leicester Festival scheduled for this autumn the organisers are encouraging participants to “embark on a route around all of the world’s most famous cities and iconic landmarks from Europe to Africa, Asia and beyond.”

The online project aims to draw the Run Leicester community and the wider running world together as a team and between 1–30 September cover tens of thousands of kilometres all the way around the world live on an interactive map.

Aiming to visit all of the world’s most famous cities and iconic landmarks the run route will be broken down into different stages. Looping through almost every single European country, Stage One covers 22,256 km (13,829 miles) as it winds through both the Pyrenees and the Alps before heading north through Scandinavia. Reaching Russia it turns back southwards down through Eastern Europe with the stage eventually coming to an end at the impressive Anitkabir Mausoleum in Ankara.

The team tracking map will be updated regularly so that you can see just how far the ‘Run The World’ team has made it around the route at any given time. As we progress, the landmarks below will light up to mark our achievements as we go

The Leicester community has been hit hard by the latest local lockdown and we hope that Run The World is a goal that we can all rally behind to help bring the community back together and encourage people to keep getting out there and enjoying running. Stage One (527.5 marathons in length) is already live so you can check out where we’re headed around Europe on the map and get a feel for Run The World. Details of the remaining stages will be released in the coming weeks.

Running news

Naha Marathon cancels

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

Two of the last six remaining major marathons on Japan’s 2020 calendar have cancelled.

With 14,660 finishers last year the Naha Marathon in Okinawa announced that its 36th edition, scheduled for 6 December, will not take place this year. The organisers stressed that it was a one-year postponement rather than a cancellation per se. The Aoshima Taiheiyo Marathon in Miyazaki, with 8043 finishers in 2019 and scheduled for 13 December, followed with its cancellation announcement.

Both races brought up the same concerns as the 23 other large marathons this fall to have already cancelled. They cited risks to participants, volunteers and others involved in the race and Aoshima added that the need to restrict spectators would take away a lot of the fun for the runners.

Only four significant marathons could potentially still be held this year: the Fujisan Marathon (29 November), the Shonan International Marathon and Fukuoka International Marathon (both 6 December), and the Hofu Marathon (20 December). But given the earlier cancellation of the February 2021 Kumamoto Castle Marathon and accompanying elite-only Kumanichi 30km, the chances of anything except maybe Fukuoka actually going off look slim.

Running news

Return to racing: guidelines offered

Creigh and andrea

After three months of collaboration within the running industry and with Colorado’s governmental bodies Andrea Dowdy and Creigh Kelley, the CEO and race director of Denver’s Colfax Marathon, have devised guidelines for resuming endurance events within the state – but they hope the guidelines can be useful for event professionals across the USA and beyond.

Access the document here .

“We absolutely want people to be able to use this [document], which is why we’re sharing it widely. It would mean a lot to us if people don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Kelley, who has produced over 1000 events during his career and was a founder and past board member of Running USA.

“We designed these guidelines thinking of the large events on down to the tiny,” said Dowdy. “If we could do this well, and make it scalable, that was hugely important to us.”

Some key findings in generating the guidelines were:

i) Leading figures in the running industry should make every effort to volunteer to lead the discussion (with government) on running and walking events. Because if they don’t, somebody else will try to figure it out and it won’t be good.

ii) include a social contract with participants to be signed off upon registration and re-verified when picking up race bibs. The contract would ask the runner to certify that they will wear a mask (except when actually running in the event), are healthy, will bring a personal hydration source, will not invite spectators, will social distance at the race, and a any other key considerations.

iii) Approach this in a way that would make sense for the event but also in a way that would make sense to a runner. They need to understand why it’s important to bring their own water bottle and have variable staggered start times. The social contract puts the onus on all players to contribute to a positive experience.

They expect that the first Colorado event to use the guidelines will take place in August, with more moving forward in the autumn.

Running news

Kipsang “alleges conspiracy”

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Race-news-service.com quotes an article by Michael Reinsch in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in which former Marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang alleges doping authorities conspired against him and plans an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

Kipsang accused the Integrity Unit of World Athletics of racism and the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) of feeding “wrong information” to the AIU in attempt to undermine Kipsang’s position as founder of a professional body for Kenyan runners (PAAK). “Everyone knows that we have a bad relationship with Athletics Kenya, which in turn led to this ban,” he alleged.

AIU commissioned the Swedish judge Conny Jörneklint with the case who justified the ban over three missed tests and supplying an incorrect address within one year. Kipsang’s excuses for missing tests included in one instance a landslide and on another occasion an overturned truck blocking the road. The court noted that it was “unable to confirm either incident. There were no records of bad weather at the specified location at the specified time, nor had the police recorded a truck accident and any resulting traffic disruption on the day in question. A photo submitted for evidence, according to research, was taken three months after the alleged accident. The athlete has acted fraudulently by intentionally providing the AIU with incorrect and misleading information,” read the AIU judgement.

“People have doped for years and have been banned for four years,” said Kipsang. “I had an accident, had to go to the hospital, and was then banned for four years. That’s not fair.”

AIU had given a proportionately lengthy sentence in June 2020 to the Ethiopian distance runner Etaferahu Temesgen after she tested positive at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon for EPO and testosterone in October 2019. On appealing the original four-year ban Temesgen submitted a forged medical certificate and had the ban extended to 12 years.

On 13 August Kenyan marathon runner Florence Jepkosgei Chepsoi is due to appear at a criminal court in Eldoret charged with presenting forged documentation to the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya. If found guilty she could face imprisonment.

Race news Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt suspends registrations

Because major events are prohibited in Germany until the end of October if they cannot guarantee that the hygiene regulations and distance rules can be observed and that contact tracking of participants and spectators can be guaranteed, the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon team temporarily closed registrations from 18 June.

“We are in close contact with the Hessian Ministry of the Interior and for Sports in order to come to a final decision regarding our event,” said the race organisers. “Unfortunately, the 39th Mainova Frankfurt Marathon planned for 25 October has become unlikely due to recent developments.”

“We will proactively inform you through all our channels (website, newsletter, social media & Co.) as soon as we have new information. Until then we ask that you refrain from inquiries. Unfortunately we cannot say with certainty when we will reach a final decision in consultation with and in agreement with the City of Frankfurt and the State of Hesse.”

Running news

Yosenkai Ekiden to go ahead

On 6 July an Inter-University Athletic Union of Kanto (KGRR) official revealed that plans are in the final stages to hold the 17 October Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai, the half marathon distance qualifying race for the 2–3 January Hakone Ekiden, on a modified course without spectators.

The prevention of the spread of the coronavirus is the KGRR’s top priority. The race would be held on a 3.3 km loop course around the runway at the Defence Force Base in Tachikawa, Tokyo, its traditional starting point.

The Yosenkai Ekiden traditionally starts with a lap of the Tachikawa airfield before heading out into the city and finishing in Showa Kinen Park. It is now planned to be cut back to doing 3.3 km laps on the runway entirely within the base. Attendees will be limited to university personnel only.

Every year, countless people gather along the course and at the finish in Showa Kinen Park to watch the race. Tens of thousands wait post-race for the announcement of the qualifying teams – a tradition for Ekiden fans. If held as normal dense crowding is inevitable and would increase the risk of cluster infections. The support of fans and alumni is an invaluable source of energy for the athletes, but the potential cost is simply too high. Using a loop course on the runway would also reduce risks by cutting down on the number of operating staff and volunteers necessary.

506 athletes from 43 universities participated in the race last year. This year there are plans to cut numbers by making qualifying times tougher or by cutting the number of runners per team.

The KGRR’s guidelines specify that holding the Yosenkai is premised on the reality of “cancellation in the event of a government declaration of a state of emergency.”

source article: https://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/202007060000553.html

Translated by Brett Larner

Race news Copenhagen Half Marathon

2020 Copenhagen Half cancelled

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With less than three months to go, organisers confirmed the cancellation of the Copenhagen Half Marathon on 13 September.

“We don’t believe it will be possible or responsible to hold a race the size of Copenhagen Half Marathon in the heart of Copenhagen in 2020,” says Dorte Vibjerg, CEO of the organising Club Sparta.

In the 2019 race Geoffrey Kamworor smashed the world record with 58:01 and the mass race attracted a sell-out field of 25,000 runners for the first time. “After last year the Copenhagen Half Marathon really grabbed the attention of foreign runners and the international community so that this year 42% of the registered runners are foreigners,” added Vibjerg. “This means they will need clarification in relation to flight tickets and accommodation so we have decided to provide clarity now by cancelling the event.”

All participants who were registered will be able to transfer their registration to next year’s race on 19 September 2021 or get a full refund of the entry fee paid. “By transferring their entries to 2021, runners will be helping to protect the future of the event,” Vibjerg concluded.

This means that of the five races which make up the “SuperHalfs” series that was launched for 2020 four have been cancelled. The Valencia Half Marathon is still scheduled to go ahead on 25 October 2020 but the situation is changing daily in every country and government advice is being updated. Forthcoming races in the Series are now scheduled as follows:

25/10/2020 – Valencia

27/03/2021 – Prague

09/05/2021 – Lisbon

19/09/2021 – Copenhagen

03/10/2021 – Cardiff

Running news

Longest-serving race directors

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Phil Stewart of Road Race Management is compiling a list of longest-serving race directors.

While this started off as a US listing it has been extended to include race directors from other countries, where known. There are 44 entries for RDs of 25 years’ standing or more through to the end of 2019.

Laddie Lawrence of the Westport (Connecticut) Summer Series tops the list with 56 years in the job. Highest-placed of non-US race directors is Jiro Hashimoto of Lake Saroma 100km (JPN) and Mario Kadiks (Rotterdam) with 35 years, followed by Andrea Tuffli (Swissalpine) with 34 years.

The list shows 50 race directors of 23 years’ standing or more (including the late Fred Lebow). So far there are only 13 non-US entries of which 12 are (or were) AIMS members, plus two US AIMS members, Carey Pinkowski (Chicago, 30 years) and Rick Nealis (US Marine Corps, 27 years).

Phil Stewart would welcome suggested additions to the listing. He can be contacted at: pstewart@rrm.com

View list here

Rules

- Longevity is calculated as of 31 December 2019 and will be updated for 2020 races on 31 December 2020.

- Co-Directors are eligible

- Race Directors who have been directors of multiple races for many years just have their longest event included.

- Directors are given credit for cancelled events or events held as virtual events assuming they handled the terms of the cancellation

- Events must be trackable as the “same” event even though distances may have been added or dropped and title sponsors changed

Running news

Kipsang suspended for four years

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On 3 July Sean Ingle, of the British national newspaper The Guardian, reported that Wilson Kipsang (former world record holder and twice winner of the London Marathon) received a four-year suspension for four failures to observe “whereabouts” requirements between April 2018 and May 2019.

Three failures within a year triggers an automatic 12-month ban but Kipsang attracted an increased sanction after providing a faked photograph of an overturned lorry as “evidence” to justify having missed a test.

Kipsang (38) produced the photograph after claiming that he had missed the May 2019 test after being caught behind the overturned lorry. The photo was later shown to have been of an incident that happened three months earlier and Kipsang was charged with “false evidence and witness testimony”. He had made similar claims concerning a landslide having caused him to miss a previous test for which investigators found no evidence.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said: “The athlete engaged in fraudulent and deceitful conduct by providing deliberately misleading and false information to the AIU in an attempt to obstruct and delay the investigation into his explanation and/or prevent normal procedures from occurring, namely the recording of a missed test against him.”

Kipsang’s management agency said “No prohibited substance was ever found. We will study and analyse the decision and consider the further legal steps.”

Running news

Shock as cancellations continue into 2021

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

On 3 July the organising committee of the Kumamoto Castle Marathon, scheduled for the third Sunday of February 2021, announced that the race has been cancelled.

Organisers cited the difficulty of preventing the spread of coronavirus infections at the marathon which had 10,444 finishers at this year’s edition.

Also cancelled are the accompanying shorter distance races including Kumanichi 30km, an elite-only event with 79 finishers this year. It is the first cancellation of the Kumanichi 30km in its 65-year-history. Between the mass-participation marathon, elite 30km and 3km fun run over 14,000 people took part this year. Next year was to have been the Marathon’s 10th anniversary running.

Translator’s note: As far as I know this is the first major Japanese race and first 10,000+ marathon worldwide in 2021 to cancel due to the coronavirus situation. It’s a major blow to any optimism about any kind of a return to the regular racing calendar in the foreseeable future.

Source article in Japanese

Running news

World Athletics stands down Russian Taskforce

In a statement released on 2 July World Athletics confirmed that it had not received payments due from the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) on 1 July nor, despite reminders and correspondence with the Federation, any information on when the monies may be paid.

As a result World Athletics will stand down both the Doping Review Board (DRB) and the Russian Taskforce until World Athletics’ Council has reviewed and discussed the situation at their meeting on 29-30 July, as set out in the decision made by the Council on 12 March .

Both the Russian Taskforce and the DRB have, in good faith, moved forward in a number of areas, said WA. The DRB has also opened up the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) process to facilitate the granting of ANA status for athletes returning to competition in preparation for the fine being paid by 1 July. This will be put on hold until the Council meets at the end of July to ensure World Athletics is not incurring additional costs that may not be reimbursed.

World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe, said: “We are very disappointed by the lack of progress made by RusAF in terms of the requirements set in March. The serious allegations of breaching the anti-doping rules resulted in a new RusAF administration and we had assurances and hoped that change was on its way. However, the experience of the Russian Taskforce is that this has fallen well short of expectations. The terms of payment of the fine and costs were clear and unchallenged by RusAF at the time so this issue will now need to return to Council at the end of July, as we stated in March.”

The payments due from RusAF by 1 July are USD 5million (EUR 4.4m) (fine) and USD 1.31million (EUR 1.2m) (Reinstatement Conditions & Verification Criteria costs incurred from 30 June 2019 to 31 March 2020, including Legal & CAS Costs; Task Force Costs; Doping Review Board Costs, and Lysenko Investigation costs).

Race news Halfmarathon Altötting

Altötting hopes to run in September

By Günther Vogl | Halbmarathon Altötting

While large events have been cancelled in Germany until the end of October the Altötting Half Marathon is making efforts to run its 29th edition in modified form on 13 September.

Günther Vogl, the main organiser of the Altötting Half Marathon said: “We are trying to run at least a slimmed down version. We have to discuss this with the health department. We will also offer a virtual run. Details will come as soon as we know more.”

The international OMV half marathon has been held in Altötting, “in the heart of Bavaria”, for 29 years. What started small is now one of the top half marathons in Germany.

We look forward to your participation and wish you an accident-free journey to Altötting. We remind you that in the area covered by ​​the Südostbayernbahn rail network participants can travel to Altötting for free.

Race news Athens Marathon The Authentic

Athens Marathon The Authentic sticks to its date

Athens

The Greek Athletics Federation SEGAS announced on 1 July that, based on current data, “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” 2020 will be held as normal on 7–8 November 2020 with its co-organisers the Attica Region, the Municipality of Athens, the Municipality of Marathon and the EOE and a major sponsor, OPAP SA.

Athens Marathon 2020 will include the following competitions:

Marathon: Participants in the Marathon will be divided into two different (A & B) races with 5000 participants each and an hour difference between their start times. The distribution of the runners in the two races and in the corresponding starting block will be decided by the Organising Committee. It is noted that the Marathon Road will be held on Sunday, November 8, while the exact start times will be announced in the near future.

10km road race: On Saturday 7 November, 10km participants will also be divided into two different (A & B) races with 5000 participants each and an hour difference between their starts.

5km road race, ZERO WASTE FUTURE: The same logic applies as for the 5km on Sunday 8 November: two 5km (A & B) Races with 5000 participants each and a difference of at least one hour between their starts.

Note that Athens 2020 Marathon will not include the Children’s races (neither on the route nor at the Panathinaiko Stadium) or the Special Olympics Hellas Race. This is for better implementation of the protocol.

Registration limits for all the races have been revised and because they are now split into two separate groups the official t-shirt of the race will be an integral part of the registration for each participant.

Registrations for the Athens 2020 Marathon will start on Friday, 3 July 2020 at 12.00, exclusively through the event website. SEGAS has drawn up a special Cancellation Policy for this year’s event which encourages runners to consult before proceeding with their registration.

President of SEGAS, Kostas Panagopoulos commented: “The successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Greece, as a result of the timely adoption of correct measures and their consistent observance by the majority of Greeks, but also the approval by the State Health Protocol for Out-of-Stage Games of SEGAS, allows us to open registration for the Athens Marathon 2020.

“The Race will be very different this year since the observance of the Health Protocol, imposes fewer runners, more starts, distance keeping, meticulous protection measures in each process and for each step. The special planning of the Games has been completed and with the help of all – and especially the runners – the observance of the measures will ensure the desired result.

“In Greece, where it was born, the Marathon will be re-launched in 2020 after the pandemic.”

Race news hella hamburg halbmarathon

Hamburg half marathon… at Stonehenge

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The hella hamburg halbmarathon is one of the biggest events of its type in Germany, with over 12,000 participants. This year there were indications of a new record number of runners, but then the coronavirus arrived…

But the event was not just postponed until next year. Instead a digital alternative was created. The concept was simple: Instead of a mass start on the Reeperbahn each participant runs their own half marathon – wherever they like! All runs on the originally planned date for the event count. Times and distances were recorded on a custom app and uploaded. Donations went to the long-standing charity partner of the race, the Hamburg parents’ initiative for children with rheumatism. More than 4,000 EUR was collected.

The digital event can be seen as a complete success. Over 4,600 runners all over the world took part. The first results came in shortly after midnight. An Australian running crew ran past the Sydney Opera House rather than Hamburg’s Elbe Philharmonic to immortalise itself in the finishers’ list. In England the course for one runner passed Stonehenge.

The desire for a real race seems to have been huge. The pasta party, group starts, properly marked start and finish lines – sometimes with banners and medal ceremony, water points… the enthusiasm of our runners knew no bounds.

Next year everything should return to normal. The 26th hella hamburg halbmarathon takes place on Sunday 27 June 2021. Registrations are already open.

Running news

Plea to Putin from neutral Russian athletes

The Russian Athletics Association (RusAF) has been suspended from World Athletics since 2015 for repeated violations of anti-doping guidelines. Russian athletes have now petitioned Vladimir Putin to avoid being completely excluded from the upcoming Olympic Games.

RusAF had until 1 July 1 to pay the first of two equal instalments of WA’s USD10 million fine. Without compliance 10 ‘neutral’ athletes may be deprived of their right to participate in the Olympic Games.

Several top Russian athletes have asked President Putin to intervene. “We would like to draw your attention to the catastrophic situation of our sport,” wrote world champion high jumper Marija Lassizkene on social media. “We are on the verge of ultimate chaos and the destruction of athletics.” Lassizkene and her colleagues accuse Putin of failing to present a concrete plan to overcome the ongoing crisis. “We missed the 2016 Olympic Games and it is quite possible that we will miss the Games in Tokyo,” the statement said.

Russian officials have recently emphasised once again that they did not have the money to pay the fine. An application to defer payment was denied. The second instalment of the fine was to be suspended after payment of the first. A maximum of 10 Russian athletes will be allowed to start as neutral athletes at the Tokyo Olympics.

[From the DLV Anti-Doping Unit – ANTI-DOPING-NEWS – 7/2020]

Running news

Keeping the distance

Macedonia

With the relaxation of rules on social gatherings in many European countries distance running events are again being held – but in a very different format. One such race is described in detail below – the HalkEco Hronometar (time trial) 10km held on 20 June organised by the Skopje Marathon in Northern Macedonia.

In order to start 360 runners under social distancing rules individual start times at 30-second intervals had to be booked between 06.30–09.30. Registration and payment had to be done online through www.smartrace.club and closed when the 360 places available had been taken. The start was under a bridge and the out-back course followed a broad path along the river with a turn point at 5km.

The bib numbers incorporated a time chip and were delivered before the race to each participant’s postal address. On race day runners were instructed to come, in their running gear and with their race number on, to the start zone at most ten minutes and at least five minutes before their booked start time and wearing a protective face mask. All those in the start area had to maintain 2m distance from each other. There was no bag drop provided.

Four 3m x 3m boxes were marked out before the start line. The name and number of the competitor was read out as a signal for them to move into the first box where thermal screening was conducted. In cases of an elevated temperature the competitor was not allowed to start the race. Hands were disinfected as each box was vacated by the previous competitor, On reaching the 3rd box the runner removed the protective face mask and disposed of it in the trash bin. Reaching the 4th box, the runner waited for the start signal.

There were medical teams at two points on the course and water stations at 3, 5 and 7 km, plus at the finish. Overtaking other runners was allowed during the race, but with special care to keep clear of all race participants and passers-by. After crossing the finish line the runner disinfected their hands, took a bottle of water from a table, and from the next box collected their medal from a rack. He/she then received a protective mask to wear as they left the finish area for home.

Results and awards were posted live on the race website and on www.tagtiming.mk. There was no award ceremony. The winners were announced online, with photos from the race. It was extremely important that each runner understood and agreed to abide by the special rules set out and that grouping both before and after the race was avoided.

Race news Haspa Marathon Hamburg

Hamburg suspends registrations

New registrations for the Hamburg Marathon (GER) have been suspended in ongoing uncertainty over legal liabilities around the event.

At a state press conference on 30 June the City of Hamburg made no binding statements or regulations regarding the approval or prohibition of major sporting events.

“With regard to how the flow of spectators in public spaces can be controlled or limited in order to ensure that social distancing and hygiene guidelines are observed along the route, it remains unclear whether and to what extent we as organisers become responsible for this,” said the race organisation. “As long as there is no clarity on this question we have suspended registration for the Haspa Marathon Hamburg and the Haspa Half Marathon Hamburg on 13 September 2020 until further notice. We will keep you updated and expressly thank you for refraining from making enquiries or speculations, and for your patience.”

Race news Volksbank-Münster-Marathon

Münster Marathon cancelled

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The Volksbank-Münster-Marathon (GER) has been cancelled.

“With the ban on major events until the end of October 2020 and to protect athletes, helpers, spectators and the population of Münster we have to cancel our 19th Volksbank-Münster-Marathon on 20 September 2020,” said the organisers in a statement. “As marathon organisers we do not want to be the trigger for a new hotspot – therefore there is unfortunately no alternative but to cancel the race.”

The 19th race will take place on 12 September 2021. Registrations for the 2021 marathon can be made online from 16 August 2020.

Organisers said that full refunds would be available, but asked participants to transfer their registrations to next year or to donate part of their registration fee, as the race organisation is staffed by volunteers and still faces substantial costs for the cancelled race.

Race news Volkswagen Prague Marathon

RunCzech cancels Prague events

By Carlo Capalbo | RunCzech

We were ready with our races. Everyone was in place. Our team. Our volunteers. Our partners and suppliers. Everything was ordered and most of it in our warehouse. And then? COVID.

We hoped against hope that autumn would be better. But it was not to be.

Even though that situation is getting better, we will not be allowed to organise mass participation events in the centre of Prague. So after carefully scrutinising all possible scenarios and consulting with competent institutions we have to cancel Prague races in 2020. These are the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon (the first race of the SuperHalfs series), the Volkswagen Prague Marathon and the Birell Prague Grand Prix. All runners registered for these races will have the option to transfer their entries to 2021 or 2022 with no additional costs.

We take comfort knowing that Czech government officials had the foresight and the wisdom to take action designed to keep us safe – and we take comfort knowing that we will run again.

Indeed, our EuroHeroes races, the Mattoni Half Marathons in Karlovy Vary, Ceske Budejovice, Olomouc, Usti nad Labem, as well as the Mattoni Liberec Nature Run are all still on. Their size should make it possible for us to host them within mandated crowd-size limits. And we want so badly to see everyone there. To know that the sport is still alive. We are also staging new running events at unique venues, like airport runways or brewery premises – all in compliance with crowd size restrictions.

Running news

Work on Olympic Marathon course resumes

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

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A year ago Tokyo was due to host the Olympic Marathons only five weeks from now.

In a complete turn-around the venue was shifted 800km north to Sapporo last October and then, because of the Covid-19 pandemic the date was shifted to one year later. Such abrupt changes of arrangements might caution against preparing too far in advance but in Sapporo work on the marathon course continues to move forward.

The roads around Sapporo’s Odori Park where the world’s top athletes are scheduled to run are being made smooth and clean. Since April road work on the Olympic marathon course in the city centre has been done at night. The course starts at Odori Park. After following a 20km loop through the city runners cover two more laps of the northern half of the loop.

The city’s department of public works is minimising the difference in height between manholes and the surrounding pavement in order to reduce the risk of runners falling. Project head Koji Achira commented, “our work is being done with great care to make sure there are no differences in height.”

Along Hiragishi Kaido in Sapporo’s Toyohira Ward the lanes which runners will use are being completely repaved. In Kita Ward pavement left pockmarked after the winter is being completely resurfaced.

This week, for the first time in five months, members of the Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee and Sapporo City and Hokkaido Prefecture governments met to discuss preparations for staging next year’s marathon and race walk events. Organising Committee executive Yoshiro Mori commented, “This is an opportunity to discuss what comes next… [which] will be course measurement and certification. We want to have that done within the year before the snow sets in.”

The road works on the Olympic marathon course is about 90% complete. The remaining work is expected to be finished in late July.

Race news Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running

Baxters Loch Ness Marathon cancelled

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Organisers of the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running have today announced the cancellation of the 2020 event due to the challenges posed by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Established in 2002, the event attracted a record 9,500 participants in 2019 with 60% of marathon runners coming from outside Scotland and 17% from overseas. The cancellation is the first in the event’s 18-year history. The event raised over GBP 1m (EUR 1.1m) for charity in 2019.

Following consultation with partner agencies, sponsors and stakeholders over the past few months during lockdown, the difficult decision was made based on the safety and welfare of all those involved in the event. The uncertainty over travel restrictions for the large number of participants who travel to Inverness and the Highlands from around the UK and abroad was also taken into account.

All those with a place in the 2020 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running will automatically be transferred to the 2021 event, scheduled to take place on 3rd October. All participants have been contacted by email today with further information.

Commenting on the decision, Malcolm Sutherland, Event & Race Director of Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running, said: “I would like to extend my thanks to all those signed up for the 2020 event for their patience and support during this uncertain and very challenging time. “It has been a difficult decision and not one we have taken lightly however the health, safety and welfare of our participants, volunteers, staff, charities and stakeholders is at the heart of everything we do and will always remain our priority. We feel it is our responsibility to protect everyone involved including our emergency services and local community which has always been so supportive.

“The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon is a highlight of the UK running calendar with one of the most spectacular marathon routes in the world and has also gained a reputation as one of the most memorable. We pride ourselves on offering a very special Highland experience and we are concerned this would be lost were we to stage the event with all the necessary physical distancing measures and other restrictions in place. Instead, we will put our efforts into ensuring the 2021 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running is an outstanding experience for everyone.

“We also understand the many weeks of training required to prepare for this event, that many of you will be starting your 12-week training programme and many are fundraising for charity. We will therefore be working with our partner charities – Macmillan Cancer Support, Alzheimer Scotland, Cancer Research UK and the Highland Hospice and a host of other charities – to maximise fundraising in 2021.

“We really hope those due to take part this year will join us in 2021 – we can’t wait to see you then.”

Race news TCS New York City Marathon

New York cancelled

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The 2020 TCS New York City Marathon, set to take place on 1 November has been cancelled.

New York Road Runners in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of the City of New York 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.

“Cancelling this year’s TCS New York City Marathon is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved, but it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. “Marathon Day and the many related events and activities during race week are part of the heart and soul of New York City and the global running community, and we look forward to coming together next year.”

NYRR will be connecting directly with runners registered for the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon by 15 July with more information regarding the cancellation resolution details, including the option to receive a full refund of their entry fee or a guaranteed complimentary entry in either 2021, 2022, or 2023. Runners who gained entry through a charity or tour operator should reach out beginning 1 July to that organisation for the options available to them.

This year’s marathon was set to be the 50th running of the event, which began in 1970 and has grown to become the world’s largest marathon with 53,640 finishers in 2019.

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

The 50th running of the TCS New York City Marathon will take place on 7 November 2021.

Race news BMW Berlin-Marathon

No rescheduled event for Berlin

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There will be no rescheduled event to replace the cancelled BMW Berlin-Marathon in 2020, its organisers said today.

Events with 5,000 participants or more are prohibited by the responsible authorities in Germany until October 24, 2020. Hopes were raised earlier this week that a replacement race after that date might be possible, if satisfactory hygiene measures could be put in place, but the race’s organisers today drew a line under these considerations.

SCC Events, the race 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. A comprehensive feasibility analysis showed that an event such as the BMW Berlin-Marathon could not be held under the current specifications – also not after October 24, 2020, especially not with the high expectations we all have for this event. Naturally, we support the containment measures, as the health of everyone is of utmost importance to us.

“The BMW Berlin-Marathon will therefore not take place on September 26-27, 2020 due to force majeure, and it is also not possible to hold the event at a later date this year.”

Jürgen Lock, Managing Director of SCC Events, added: “Due to the weather conditions alone and the ever shorter days, it would be very difficult to hold the BMW Berlin-Marathon with its various competitions and event formats this year. Then there is the uncertainty about which regulations will apply at a later date. The question of whether athletes will be able to travel internationally again by then can also not yet be answered.”

Registered participants will be contacted this week and offered the opportunity of a full refund or a transfer to next year’s event on September 25–26 2021.

Race news Haspa Marathon Hamburg

Hamburg plans to make the Marathon happen

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The Haspa Hamburg Marathon is scheduled to go ahead on September 13 with both elite and mass races. The news was announced by the organizers at a press conference today where they also set out a comprehensive hygiene policy, based on international expertise.

With these guidelines in place, it should be possible for 10,000 marathon runners and 4,000 participants in the half marathon to compete on September 13. If this does go ahead, given the current situation caused by the Corona virus, the race in Hamburg would most likely be the first significant international marathon to take place with an elite and mass field since the start of the pandemic. The event is a Gold Label road race, a distinction awarded by World Athletics, the governing body of international athletics.

“We are optimistic that the Haspa Hamburg Marathon will be started on 13 September. We have the plans and the infrastructure required. We will now make detailed plans together with the city to realize the race,” said chief organiser Frank Thaleiser.

The Haspa Hamburg Marathon was originally planned for April 19 but, as with every other spring marathon, the event could not take place on the scheduled date because of the coronavirus. After discussion with the Hamburg city council the organisers postponed the event to September 13. Organisers said that the city supports their plans for the race in late summer.

Last week chancellor Angela Merkel met the presidents of Germany’s federal states and the decision was agreed that major events would not be permitted to take place until the end of October, but exceptions to be allowed for events where contact tracing and adhering to hygiene regulations are possible. Individual federal states are also permitted to set their own regulations.

“I am looking forward very, very much to this race. It was a frustrating situation when all events were cancelled. I stopped training for a while. But now there is a major goal again,” said Germany’s top marathon runner Philipp Pflieger, who features a personal best of 2:12:50 and competes for the club of the organiser LT Haspa Marathon Hamburg. Pflieger is not bothered by the fact that the Haspa Hamburg Marathon will be outside of the Olympic qualifying period, which restarts in December. “To be able to plan with a start at the Haspa Hamburg Marathon is really great news. We are all craving for competition,” he said.

In Hamburg plans are for a drastically reduced elite field of probably around 30 athletes. This will be the only group standing together on the start line. The athletes will have to undergo testing for the coronavirus before the race and will only be drawn from certain countries, given the restricted travel situation. Participation by athletes from countries where the coronavirus poses a higher risk will not be allowed – neither in the elite nor in the mass field.

There will be no races for children or a relay race which was included in the event in the past years. Also removed from the overall programme are spectator grandstands and Hotspots along the course.

The Half Marathon and Marathon will have different start and finish lines. Runners in the Half Marathon will start their race in several groups between 0800 and 0830 while the Marathon runners will get under way from 0930 with a time window of just under two hours. Most of them will be in batches of 1,000 per starting group who will be sent on their way at roughly ten-minute intervals. The runners will assemble before the race in their predetermined groups in different halls of the Expo building. There, and also later in the finish areas, a total of 120,000 square metres of the event area will be available to the organisers and under their control and they will not allow spectators to enter – social distancing will be maintained. Disinfection stations will be set up both in the event area in general and along the course.

All participants will also be given a tubular scarf with a breathing filter. This must be worn in the event area including the start and finish areas. During the race runners must have these with them and put them over mouth and nose after they cross the finish line. No open drinks or individual food offerings will be available in the finish area; instead all participants will receive a refuelling package. Other facilities which are usually on offer, such as massage and showers, will not be available.

According to the organisers, this detailed hygiene policy has been created with the help of the University of Manchester Metropolitan (Crowd Managing). This university department in Britain is working with a number of major international marathon races as well as the Premier League and the German Football Federation (DFB).

“The organisational 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,” said Frank Thaleiser.

Running news

Tokyo returns to running

By Takayu Fujii

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On 21 June the 22nd Smile Marathon was held along the banks of the Arakawa River on the northern edge of Tokyo.

It was the first road race I’ve gone to since the corona situation started. The start and finish were at Ojima Komatsugawa Park. It was organized by Dan Communications Co. Ltd.

There were a wide range of distances on offer: 30 km, half, 10 km, 5 km and a 3 km family run. One of the operational goals this time was to avoid large crowds of participants, so bib pickup times were staggered for the different divisions. Staff wearing face shields measured participants‘ temperatures, then people had to fill out a checklist on their physical condition. They then picked up their bib numbers and participation goods from a tent where staff were behind a clear plastic sheet.

There were no official changing rooms or baggage storage facilities. Participants were responsible for that themselves. The race organisers did offer storage for valuables, but items had to be sealed inside a plastic ziplock bag first. Instead of doing it all at once like before, each race division had separate opening ceremonies and guided warm-up stretches to minimise the number of people assembled at one time.

The half marathon was the first race of the day. Runners lined up at the start in rows according to marks placed on the ground in regular intervals. They didn’t have to wear masks during the race itself, although everybody did the rest of the time. The course was a scenic out-and-back 5 km circuit along the banks of the Arakawa River. Finish times were taken by hand. Finisher’s certificates were to be mailed later, so there was no award ceremony and people dispersed pretty quickly after they finished. Overall, the operation succeeded in avoiding dense crowds of people at the start and finish.

What I saw was a post-corona road race taking the steps necessary to deal with the virus issue. What was really noticeable was that the already-existing premise in race operation of both the race management and participants understanding the rules and working together to conduct the race extended smoothly into the countermeasures against the coronavirus.

These measures cost the organisers more in terms of both labour and money. I think participants will find them less convenient compared to how things used to be. But the only way for races to go forward given the current situation in which we find ourselves is for mutual agreement between race organisers and participants to accept them. I’m glad I saw it for myself.

Translated by Brett Larner. Original article in Japanese: https://ameblo.jp/timingman/

Running news

German racing takes early socially distanced steps

By Stefanie Stein | Laufszene Events

Dresden has taken the first steps back into an almost forgotten sporting normality. Around 500 runners took part in the quickly-organised RESTART RUN on 21 June, one of the first official competitions in Germany.

“We wanted to set a tone, create an eye-opening effect and we managed to do that,” said André Egger from Laufszene Events GmbH.

There was a comprehensive event and hygiene plan in place for the start at the Schillergarten, spaced out in the large parking lot. Runners set off in six starting waves. Runners wore mouth-nose protection in the starting area. Times recorded were the individual net times, i.e. from the start to the finish line in the Heinz Steyer Stadium. This meant that it was possible to win even if setting off in the last wave of starts.

More information and all results at: www.laufszene-sachsen.de

Race news Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps conserves energy for Marathon

The Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) has announced changes to the 2020 MCM Weekend schedule on 24–25 October.

The MCM Kids Run and MCM10K will now be a virtual-only events. The MCM Kids Run is being rebranded as the MCM Semper Fun Mile, a one-mile virtual event for kids to run with their parents or guardians.

“Every decision we are making is intended to maximize the operational bandwidth required to host the 45th Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Virginia on 25 October,” said MCMO Director Rick Nealis.

Race news Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

Cape Town cancels

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Organisers of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, scheduled for 18 October, have confirmed cancellation of the event. The road and trail Peace Runs have also been cancelled.

Athletics South Africa President Aleck Skhosana said, “Cancelling this year’s edition of the Cape Town Marathon was a difficult decision to make because it is an influential nation-builder with a massive economic impact.” Sydney Mbhele, Chief Executive of Brand at Sanlam, the race’s headline sponsor, commended the organising team saying: “At Sanlam we fully support this decision, and are working alongside our partners to ensure that we are still able to generate as much economic activity as possible from the virtual race.”

The inaugural Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon is set for 18 October with the introduction of a Virtual Marathon, Half Marathon and 5km or 10km Peace Run/Walk options.

Through combining cutting-edge technology, advanced tracking features, and pre-recorded audio and video within the Virtual Marathon App, participants get to enjoy the full Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race experience, no matter where they are in the world – from the start line ceremony, the lighting of the Peace Torch and the promenade sounds of seagulls and crashing ocean waves, to the local crowds and Cape minstrels cheering them on.

Runners’ race experience will be further enhanced by real-time tracking of their own run, while they are also informed of their virtual progress along the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon route.

Race medicine

Outbreak Prevention Taskforce launches risk assesment tool

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The Outbreak Prevention Taskforce formed by World Athletics with the International Institute for Race Medicine (IIRM) and including the medical chairs from five other global sports federations, has launched an online risk assessment and mitigation tool for endurance event organisers.

Derived from the WHO’s general advice for mass gatherings, the tool is intended to help organisers assess the risk of staging an event, establish the preparedness of the community and the event organisation for the risks of Covid-19, and clarify any necessary steps to further mitigate and reduce the risk.

Once details have been entered into the tool it generates a document that event organisers can use in making the right decisions to protect the local community, the participants, the volunteers, workforce, and staff involved. It does not advise on spectator management.

The tool is applicable to all mass participation endurance events regardless of the sport, competition level and size.

It outlines mandatory mitigation measures to be undertaken by the event organisers, based on their particular circumstances, as well as recommended and desired measures, and emphasises that all of the mandatory measures and most of the recommended measures should be adopted if the event is to take place.

There is no guarantee that the suggested actions will sufficiently reduce the risk to allow the safe staging of an event, but they will guide event organisers through a process that the taskforce hopes will become a standard part of the preparation for staging mass events.

Competition organisers are strongly encouraged to coordinate with local public health authorities when planning events and to discuss the results obtained through the tool. Local and/or national laws and regulations will always take precedence over the results obtained from this tool and its guidance documents.

“Using the tool will not solve the COVID-19 outbreak, or other infectious diseases, but it will guide event organisers through a process that should become a habit and should be done before every event,” said Dr Paolo Emilio Adami, World Athletics’ medical manager. “There will never be zero risk for infectious diseases but we want to help event organisers to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.”

IIRM Executive Director Chris Troyanos said: “The International Institute for Race Medicine is proud to have helped lead this effort. During these uncertain and ever changing times, it was vital for so many organisations to work towards a common goal.

This evaluation tool, which provides immediate feedback, can be used for all types of endurance events as we return to activities. But the risk assessment tool is only the first step as we continue to provide practical solutions to the pandemic.”

The tool is available at: idom.worldathletics.org

Race news Milton Keynes Marathon & Half Marathon

Milton Keynes reimagined

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The Rightmove Milton Keynes Marathon, originally scheduled for 4 May before being postponed to September, is now going to be held between 6–19 September as a “reimagined” event.

“Runners will be able to experience all the excitement and joy of running our event, but in a safe and sensible way that will observe the need for government imposed social distancing,” say the organisers. “Our Reimagined event is not a virtual race. It’s a measured and certified race route taking in the beautiful lakes and scenery of Milton Keynes.”

This self-supporting race features advanced GPS timing technology with built-in turn-by-turn voice navigation for round-the-clock service in a two-week period in September. Results will be recorded and a leaderboard maintained. Runners will receive inspirational VE 75th anniversary themed medals. All races are still open for entries including the Marathon, Half-marathon, Marathon Relay, Turing 10k, Rocket 5k and Superhero Fun Run. This is a unique opportunity for runners to enter one or all distances.

Race news BMW Berlin-Marathon

Berlin Marathon hangs in the balance

By Jörg Wenig | race-news-service.com

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The organisers of the Berlin Marathon will decide in the coming week whether it can still take place this year or will have to be cancelled, says managing director of SCC-Events GmbH, Jürgen Lock.

In April the Berlin Senate decided to ban large events with over 5000 participants until 24 October – this happened without any advance notice given to the organisers of the Berlin Marathon. This meant that the race could not take place as scheduled on 27 October – but, in theory, the race could be moved to November.

The Berlin organisers want to include the latest developments in making their decision. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the government heads of the federal states decided on 17 June that, while major events would remain banned until the end of October, exceptions could be made if participant data is available and infections can be traced and a further infection can be prevented. These exceptions could be decisive for organisers of cultural and sporting events.

Running news

Svein Arne Hansen dies at 74

European Athletics has announced that its President Svein Arne Hansen died on Saturday 20 June at the age of 74.

Svein Arne was European Athletics’ fifth president since the organisation’s inauguration in 1970, after being first elected in 2015 and then re-elected in 2019.

He died in Oslo after failing to recover from a serious stroke that he suffered while at home during the evening of Sunday 15 March.

European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Svein Arne. He was a great leader, a visionary for our sport and a charismatic personality within the athletics family. He was much loved by all those who knew him well and above all he was a friend of the athletes. We have lost a great man. All my thoughts and wishes go to his family at this difficult time.”

Running news

Run the runway

The run way runs

RunCzech has recently launched its one-of-a-kind summer racing schedule. The newly released running events invite runners to places people never had access to before: airport runways.

The RunWay Runs series will take place in Prague, Karlovy Vary (27–28 June) and České Budějovice (10–11 July).

Registration is already open. Capacity is limited. Book your place and enjoy the sensation of racing again.

Accompanying events and surprises are guaranteed, including an even more special race to be announced soon.

Date changes Dhaka Half Marathon

Race date for Dhaka Half Marathon (BAN) changed

The Dhaka Half Marathon (BAN) will take place on Fri 19 February 2021, not Sun 21 February 2021 as previously published.

Race news El Corte Inglés São Silvestre de Lisboa

“Yellow light” for El Corte Ingles Sao Silvestre de Lisboa

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The 13th edition of El Corte Ingles Sao Silvestre de Lisboa on 26 December, organised by HMS Sports in partnership with the Lisbon City Council, will paint the town yellow.

That was the colour chosen by the race’s Facebook fans for the New Balance longsleeve runners will receive at registration.

HMS Sports debuted the t-shirt colour vote in 2015 involving athletes who follow the event on social networks. In the 2020 contest there were about 2200 entries made between 1–3 June with 52% of the votes for yellow.

The 10km race starts at 17.30 while there is a race at 15.00 for children born between 2007 and 2015 called the Pelicas São Silvestre da Pequenada, The organisers hold three preparation sessions leading up to the race on 5, 12 and 19 December, each at 10:00 am in the Anfiteatro Keil do Amaral, Monsanto.

Running news

World’s biggest half marathon cancels

The biggest half marathon in the world, the Great North Run in Newcastle, UK has been cancelled.

Scheduled for 13 September the 40th edition of the race had already received 60,000 entries and was set to become the largest running event ever held in Great Britain.

The organisers also cancelled the Great Manchester Run which normally attracts 30,000 runners. It had earlier been postponed from May to 6 September.

[race-news-service.com]

Race news Helsinki Marathon

Still hopeful in Helsinki

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation the Helsinki Marathon will be organised on 22 August with special arrangements which take into account the restrictions and recommendations in force at the time.

More detailed instructions will be given to participants separately before and at the event.

The organisers ask participants to understand the exceptional ways in which these events can be organised at all.

Running news

Olympic Marathon qualification

World Athletics has lifted the limitation of 80 runners in the Olympic Marathon fields.

Any athlete who has met the qualifying times of 2:11:30 (men) or 2:29:30 (women) is eligible for selection for their national teams (of 3 male and 3 female runners). Qualification through the world rankings will not be possible.

Before the coronavirus pandemic led to the suspension of the qualifying period 90 runners had qualified, with qualifications set to resume on 1 December and continue until 31 May 2021.

“There is no longer a limit of 80 athletes in the marathon,” said Jakob Larsen, the new Competitions Director at World Athletics. “At the same time, we are assuming that we will still meet the total number of athletes who can start in athletics at the Olympics.” The IOC has specified a maximum of 1900 starting positions for athletics.

[race-news-service.com]

Race news Manulife Danang International Marathon

Manulife Danang International Marathon will go ahead on 8 August

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Vietnam is proud to have received remarkable plaudits from around the globe for its success in the struggle against the coronavirus.

After the storm comes a calm, as we return to the usual rhythm of life and the path towards a rapid recovery. While the world is standing still Vietnam is beginning to move: Domestic flights have been reinstated and entertainment and sporting events are revitalising the country, allowing Vietnam to be healthy, young and confident again.

Manulife Danang International Marathon will go ahead on 8 August 2020 as one of the very few AIMS member international marathons which remain as scheduled this year. Its mission is to spread the spirit of Vietnamese sport in the world with the message “Vietnam Can”. To affirm the country’s stance within the global running community. “Vietnam Can” is the most appropriate and powerful expression to show the world that Vietnam can do the impossible.

Bady Pham of the organising group Pulse Active says: “Manulife Danang International Marathon 2020 will mark an extremely special year for us all. This year’s medal will not only represent each person’s achievement but also the accomplishment of the whole nation. It is a physical reflection of our message “Vietnam Can" – showing the world that Vietnamese people can achieve this. Just stay strong and keep on training!”

Running news

Horst Milde: Things can only get better

By Jörg Wenig | race-news-service.com

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After watching the Berlin 10km Invitational race last Sunday Horst Milde, Chairman of German Road Races, gave the following interview:

When you watched the 10 km race in Berlin on Sunday, you felt reminded of times like 50 years ago…

Horst Milde: Yes, but actually you would have to compare it with much earlier times, because we didn’t have such small starting fields even 50 years ago. But the general conditions – the race on a forest road, the few spectators and the commute – already reminded us of our early days in the 60s and 70s. It was a bit like the origin of running on Sunday. While on the one hand, of course, a lot was kept very simple, on the other hand, a technology was used that is usually only known from very large international marathon races.

How important can this small race be for German but also international running?

Horst Milde: It was a breakthrough, it was like a redemption for everyone involved and a riot that encourages. This event showed that something is very possible if you have the courage to approach the appropriate places for approval, then implement the concept and organise it in an exemplary manner. It was an exemplary race for everyone. Many thanks to the organisers BERLIN-MARATHON, LAC Olympia and Fortuna Marzahn. I’ve only heard positive things from athletes and coaches. The national marathon coach and former world class runner Katrin Dörre-Heinig was glad that someone had finally organised something. Like everyone else, she hopes that there will be more races. These races are very important for our top runners because they have to get into a good starting position with regard to the Olympic Games. We need street races like that. If we don’t do anything, there is a risk that all of the athletics will break away because at some point nobody will be interested.

Do you think there will be running events in the second half of the year? And what could they look like?

Horst Milde: I think there will definitely be elite races, nationally and internationally. Perhaps runs will be possible again from September if they can be organised according to a similar scheme to the Berlin race. In Switzerland, South Tyrol and Austria there are already some events in the summer, including the traditional Swiss Alpine Marathon. Whether larger runs are possible in Germany depends on the local health authorities and the respective requirements. The previous rules on hygiene are not feasible for large street runs or would be far too expensive. I rather expect the first major races to take place abroad again and I expect that we will have to wait a while in Germany for this.

If you see big demonstrations and crowds of people in shopping streets, doesn’t it seem disproportionate if running events cannot take place?

Horst Milde: Yes, somewhere. There are demonstrations with five-digit numbers and most people do not even have a mask – minimum distances not observed. Small and medium-sized running events as well as elite races should be able to take place. Obstacle runner Gesa Krause put it quite correctly: 22 soccer players can fight for the ball with physical contact, but ten runners are not allowed to run in a row on one track, even though they only start if they are healthy. Where is the logic, why shouldn’t there be such races?

The German Athletics Federation has cancelled all road racing championships for 2020 due to the corona crisis. Many athletes and coaches are disappointed. Can it be imagined that German Road Races takes an initiative and turns suitable races into national GRR championships?

Horst Milde: I hope that the last word has not yet been spoken, because it cannot be that way. It would be a disgrace if we in Germany would not be able to organise these championships with a pure elite field . The Austrians and Swiss are way ahead of us. The championships that still have to be integrated into large running events will be more difficult than organising them separately. But because of that, they cannot be cancelled. Otherwise we will dig our own grave. The German Road Races are not an organiser. But if everything should actually turn out, I could imagine that we would discuss and support such an idea on the GRR board.

Race news VPBank Hanoi Marathon

Vietnam: the race is on but runners need reassurance

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Following Vietnam’s success in containing the coronavirus (329 cases, no deaths and no transmissions detected for 52 days) the Government has actively begun steps to revive the economy.

Beating back the pandemic also affords the prospect of allowing social activities to return to normal. Many major sports activities have been organised since late May.

The return of major sports events, along with tourism promotion. has allowed DHA Ltd to believe that both the VPBank Hanoi Marathon ASEAN 2020 and the Halong Bay Heritage Marathon 2020 will be held as scheduled on 18 October and 22 November respectively.

Given the pandemic has not fully been controlled in many countries, and in order for runners to complete registration without any worries, DHA has announced its contingency plan as a way to reassure runners who sign up for its marathons.

As a worst case, there could still be two scenarios:

1. The Marathon is postponed due to the re-emergence of the pandemic and the government does not allow sports activities and mass events to be held.

2. Foreign runners who have registered to compete in Vietnam are forced to undergo a 14-day quarantine on arrival, so they will not be able to join the race.

If the above cases occur DHA propose the following options to support runners:

Option 1: The entire registration fee will be automatically transferred to the 2021 marathon.

Option 2: If the marathon cannot be held as planned due to the pandemic, the organisers will arrange an online race instead.

Registered runners can still join the online race for a fee of USD 15 (13 EUR), and will receive T-shirt and medal (Vietnamese and foreign runners need to cover the postage cost for shipping T-shirts and medals). The organiser will deduct USD 15 from the runner’s registration fee to complete the online race registration. The rest of the fee will be taken forward to the 2021 marathon. This means that the runner will only have to pay an additional USD 15 to compete at the registered distance of the 2021 race.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong Hanh, DHA’s Executive Director, said: “The year 2020 is an exception due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Race Organising Committee has adjusted terms of the race to encourage runners to keep training, to overcome the pandemic and to enter races under the best conditions.”

Race news Volkswagen Prague Marathon

“Keep on running” challenge creates mixed reality events

RunCzech, which organises races which attract over 120,000 participants a year, has come up with the “Česko běží dál” (Czech Republic keeps on running) Challenge as a way of getting runners to compete on real courses in a new kind of “mixed reality”.

In its earlier FreeRun program 90 running courses, each 5km long and certified by the Czech Athletics Federation, were created, maintained and staffed with an experienced running coach.The network of courses is managed and navigated using the RunCzech app.

The main challenge is to run a total of 125km, whenever possible, on any of the 5km FreeRun courses over a period of 90 days. People can choose to run distances from 5km–40km, or set a goal of travelling around the country and running as many FreeRun courses as possible within the allotted time.

“The goal is to have one million kilometres completed,” says RunCzech President Carlo Capalbo. “[It] will be a way for runners to compete, to compare their results, to have a feeling of solidarity and companionship until it’s safe for us to all come together again. We believe this could be successfully replicated in other countries.”

Each participant will receive a digital diploma, and those who complete the entire 125K challenge will receive a special digital medal. There will be ranking for 5km, 10km, 20km, 40km and 125km distances. In addition, the fastest runners will earn various awards. RunCzech will carefully monitor the courses to identify where there are large gatherings of runners and foster friendly competition between cities to see who can bring out more participants.

Race news Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

Cape Town Marathon launches virtual race

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The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race organisers are adding a virtual version of the iconic city marathon to its existing range of events.

It is still too early to predict whether the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon will be staged in its original format on 18 October. The race organisers remain in close contact with Athletics South Africa and all relevant roleplayers as the months progress.

The virtual race will offer an interactive and immersive race experience for runners by superimposing the race route on top of streets, open spaces and gardens, complete with live tracking, distance markers, and push messages with information about key landmarks as they are passed.

The creation of this virtual race will allow athletes to compete in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on 18 October from anywhere in the world, starting between 06.00–10.00 local time, wherever they are.

The race will be available through the Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon app, an integrated digital platform that will launch soon.

The app will track participants as if they are running the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon route no matter where they are in the world – making this a virtual race like no other.

While the 5km and 10km Peace Runs will also be presented in Virtual Race format on 17 and 18 October respectively, there will not be a Virtual Race option for the 2020 Trail Runs.

Entries for the Virtual Race have opened via Webtickets. Athletes who have already entered the 2020 race will be able to transfer to the Virtual Race. Entrants will receive an official race number, and all finishers will receive a digital medal and certificate.

Race news ASICS Stockholm Marathon

Stockholm race organisers cancel summer running

The Swedish sports organisations Spårvägens FK and Hässelby SK, together referred to as Marathongruppen, have announced that they have been forced to cancel their planned events in August until mid September.

This includes the earlier-postponed ASICS Stockholm Marathon and the Ramboll Stockholm Half Marathon – both scheduled for 5 September.

On 4 June the Swedish government announced new regulations for domestic travel this summer. Given the current state of the corona pandemic, permission will not be given to organise running events that gather more than 49 people (which is the current limit for public gatherings in Sweden).

“The corona pandemic has meant that things we have previously taken for granted can no longer be done,” said the organisers. “During spring we did everything we could to find alternatives but we have finally had to accept that there is no safe way to stage the majority of our autumn events.”

Date changes Zurich Maratón de Sevilla

Race date for Zurich Maratón de Sevilla (ESP) changed

The Zurich Maratón de Sevilla (ESP) will take place on Sun 14 February 2021, not Sun 21 February 2021 as previously published.

Date changes Lisbon Eco Marathon

Race date for Lisbon Eco Marathon (POR) changed

The Lisbon Eco Marathon (POR) will take place on Sun 2 May 2021, not Sun 9 May 2021 as previously published.

Running news

Invitation-only 10km in Berlin produces leading times

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Some high-class 10km races took place in the first months of 2020 but then came the covid. After three months of struggling through ‘lockdown’ the ‘Berlin 10km Invitational’ run on 8 June has become the first race worldwide since the start of the pandemic to produce internationally relevant times.

Women’s winner Alina Reh posted the seventh-fastest time of the year. The only other top distance run that has taken place since mid-March has been a 5km race in Stavanger (NOR) where Jakob Ingebrigtsen set a national record of 13:28 over 5km.

To ensure that the current corona rules were complied with in the Berlin pilot project ‘Return of the Road Run’ the organisers did not announce the race in advance. Local media also knew nothing about it so there were almost no spectators along the course.

The race took place in the southeast of Berlin on a completely flat asphalt forest road. Eight men and seven women started along with pacemakers. The men started two minutes ahead of the women and the individual starting positions were fixed so that there was a 2m distance between the runners.

The set-up was an out-back route on a course well protected from the wind by the forest setting. There were a total of three turns over the entire distance, at 3km, 5km and 7km. The course was officially measured in advance and judges from the Berlin Athletics Association took times.

The ‘Berlin 10k Invitational’ was put on by Mark Milde, race director of the Berlin marathon, Christoph Kopp, elite athlete co-ordinator for the Frankfurt marathon and Helmut Winter, who implements lead vehicle time displays for the elite runners in many major international races.

Athletes and coaches were grateful that, after so many cancellations, Berlin took the initiative and a run could take place.

“It was a nice experience to be able to run a race again. I am happy with the time, although I originally wanted to achieve a result in the range of 31:00 minutes,” said Reh. “I hope there will be more races.” She was paced through 5km in 15:45 and ran the final kilometre in 3:02.

Second-placed Katharina Steinruck (32:41) missed her best time by just two seconds after having driven from Frankfurt to Berlin at short notice to be able to take part. “Everything was well organised,” she said. “We were well shielded and some waiting drivers even cheered us on. I hope that this race has set an example and motivated others to do something too. We saw in Berlin today that it is [again] feasible to run a road race.”

Running news

South Sudanese runners excel in exile

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

Still in the midst of a long-term training camp in Maebashi ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, the South Sudanese national track and field team did a time trial session at Maebashi Sports Park Gunma Denko Field on 6 June to help them visualise next summer’s main event.

The athletes had planned to run in three time trial meets within the prefecture, but with all three cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis head coach Hiroshi Yoshino, 66, organised the session himself. After warming up the athletes ran their planned distances among five different events. Three of the four athletes set new personal bests.

Running news

Krause “disappointed” by German track race guidance

The German Athletic Federation’s guidance for organisers of stadium athletics offers advice on sprints and runs up to 800m, jumps and throws as competitions in which the hygiene and distance regulations can be observed.

It is suggested that the 800m could be run entirely in lanes while leaving every second lane free.

Two-time European 3000m steeplechase champion Gesa Felicitas Krause registered her disappointment: “I’m speechless! [It’s] a decision that I do not understand and that I cannot support in any sense! Corona is and was a big topic, but you play football with 22 athletes in full swing on the pitch… shouldn’t that be possible at a championship final with eight to twelve runners?”

Race news Swissalpine

Swissalpine Marathon will go ahead

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Organisers of the Swissalpine Marathon Davos have confirmed that the race will go ahead on 25–26 July as originally scheduled – but with some restrictive precautions put in place because of the covid-19 virus.

The 68km race will be run on 25 July and the 43km race on 26 July. There will be no 20km race that traditionally forms part of the programme. To comply with the hygiene and distance rules in place the runners will be started on a staggered basis.

Other races with individual starts at intervals of ten or fifteen seconds are planned both in Switzerland and in Germany.

Running news

Swiss athletics’ start-up

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As a result of the easing steps decided by the Federal Council sporting events may again be held in Switzerland from Saturday 6 June.

With various organisers, Swiss Athletics has fixed the dates of meetings in June and July. The fields of participants are coordinated by Swiss Athletics. They are:

- Saturday, 13 June: Langenthal (short runs, technical disciplines)
- Tuesday, 16 June: Wetzikon (1000/5000m)
- Saturday, 20 June: miles (various disciplines)
- Saturday, 27 June: Bern (various disciplines)
- Saturday, 27 June: Schaffhausen (jumps)
- Friday, 3 July: Lucerne
- Friday, 24 July: Bern

Registration for these meetings will be possible shortly. The July meetings in Lucerne and Bern are invitation meetings.

There are a variety of other events that are regularly published in the Swiss Athletics online competition calendar. The first of these will take place in Geneva on Wednesday 10 June followed by a meeting for the young talent categories in Wallisellen on Friday 12 June. Athletics is one of the first sports to launch its competitive season this summer.

Swiss Athletics will waive the entry fees and the fees for meeting approval for the organisers – as long as the rule applies that a maximum of 300 people are at the facility.

Race news Kobe Marathon

Kobe Marathon cancelled

The Kobe Marathon, scheduled for 15 November and which had 19.444 finishers last year, has announced that the race has been cancelled.

Among the reasons cited is the cancellation of other races around the same time:

- problems recruiting medical staff due to coronavirus.

- the difficulty of maintaining social distancing by runners during the race.

- the possibility of a 2nd and 3rd wave spreading infection due to overcrowding during the race.

- a sharp decrease in the number of entries from overseas.

- the decrease in the number of volunteers due to coronavirus.

- as most of the road races scheduled in November in Japan have been cancelled it would be difficult to hold only the Kobe Marathon.

Running news

Athletics resumes in Austria

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Austrian Athletics will start the 2020 outdoor season this weekend. In a video conference the ÖLV and representatives of the national associations established a revised calendar for the rest of 2020.

After the easing measures and current government regulations smaller meetings are now possible again. After this first phase the number of people admitted to the stadiums will gradually increase, in phase 2 from July–August, allowing for larger competitions.

There will be four top Austrian meetings during this period in St. Pölten, Eisenstadt, Vienna and Andorf. Another event is planned in Graz. Due to the Austrian Government’s intention to lift travel restrictions in the next few days international fields will again be possible at these meetings and negotiations with various athletes are already underway. A highlight is on 23 July in Amstetten – exactly one year before the opening of the Olympic Games in Tokyo – featuring a one-hour heptathlon with Austria’s world-class all-rounders.

Phase 3 is scheduled from mid-August to early October when Austrian championships are held almost every week in all disciplines and age groups.

No arrangements for middle- and long-distance runners upwards from 800m (including relays) have been confirmed. This is not possible under the current regulations – but a lot can change in the coming weeks and months. These championships were therefore scheduled as late as possible, from the end of August. The Vienna Marathon championship is scheduled later than ever before, in December, as this is when the Olympic qualification period will re-open.

All top Austrian athletes have already announced that they will contest this unusual season. Unfortunately, after the postponement of the Olympic Games in 2021 and the cancellation of the European Championships in Paris this year, athletes have no international highlight to aim for. The exception is the Half Marathon World Championships which were previously postponed to 17 October in Gdynia (POL).

Running news

Record attempt under lockdown

Following Jakob Ingebritsen’s national 5km road record set in Stavanger on 20 May under ‘social distancing’ conditions organisers in Slovenia are planning to stage a similar event.

Borut Podgornik reports: The [coronavirus] situation here in Slovenia is quite good and looks brighter for the future. There are already some events scheduled for June. One of them will be 1st Maribor 5km Challenge on Wednesday 17 June at 20.00 for a limited number of invited athletes only (maybe 5–7 of them). The course is on pedestrian and bicycle paths, so not wide enough for a mass race – which is not allowed at the moment anyway. We will invite the best Slovenian runners to attack the national road record for 5km.

Running news

The virtual running dream team

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Distance running superstars Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele, Joshua Cheptegei and Geoffrey Kamworor are all participating in a global team relay marathon organised by their NN Running Team.

The marathon, to be held on 6–7 June, will consist of 4 × 10.55km stages and is open to all runners worldwide who wish to form a team of four to cover the marathon distance.

Runners compete “together and alone” – participants can run safely alone at their own location while competing in a team posted on the virtual leaderboard.

“I and my teammates are really looking forward to taking part in the relay on this wonderful initiative,” said Marathon world record holder Kipchoge.

Running news

Global Running Day

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Run this free one-mile virtual race anywhere, anytime as the running community comes together on www.globalrunningday.org.

Between 28 May-7 June lace up your shoes and run the world with thousands of other participants in celebration of a day that encourages everyone to get moving. You can also choose to run together with people across the globe with the Global Running Day #Run1Tag1 challenge.

After you complete your mile virtual race, tag a friend on social media with #Run1Tag1 to encourage them to do the same. Together we’ll create a worldwide game of virtual tag. Keep active in a safe and responsible way as we continue to #runsafe in a global effort to support and strengthen the running community. Although we’re running separate routes, we’re all in this together to stay connected and healthy.

Date changes Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon

Race date for Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon (UKR) changed

The Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon (UKR) will take place on Sat 31 October 2020, not Sun 1 November 2020 as previously published.

Running news

Japanese races remain cautious

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

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As Japan eases coronavirus restrictions throughout the country there are still few signs of optimism for real races to resume within the next few months.

As of now among the 27 Japanese Marathons with 5000+ finishers that were scheduled between October to December (along with two new races) 17 have been cancelled. Seven remain in limbo with entries suspended, three will make decisions in a month’s time and two have yet to make any public statement.

Among those that have not yet cancelled organisers of one race have privately indicated that their event is expected to either cancel or reschedule for next year, while the organisers of another hope at best to go ahead with no elite field and a reduced mass-participation field restricted to locals.

The biggest of the four races to make an announcement on 29 May, with 12,603 finishers last year, was the Toyama Marathon superseded its earlier suspension of registrations by cancelling this year’s 1 November edition. Organisers said that while expert opinion was that outdoor events could be reasonably staged with a minimum distance of 2m between participants, the organisers did not feel it would be possible to arrange the starting corrals and pre- and post-race areas to allow for this.

The 25th Iwate Morioka Marathon, with 5729 finishers last year, announced that it is stepping back from its plans to go ahead as scheduled on 25 October despite it being held in the only prefecture in Japan not to have found a single case of coronavirus infection to date,. Race organisers said that they would make a final decision by the end of June.

A new event this year with a planned field of 7000, the Mie Matsuzaka Marathon to be held on 20 December, had earlier suspended registrations. It has now announced that a final decision as to whether it can go ahead will be made by the end of June.

Date changes Manulife Danang International Marathon

Race date for Manulife Danang International Marathon (VIE) changed

The Manulife Danang International Marathon (VIE) will take place on Sat 8 August 2020, not Sun 9 August 2020 as previously published.

Race news Cork City Marathon

Cork launches virtual race series

The 14th Cork City Marathon was originally scheduled to take place on 31 May but, after first being postponed to 6 September, it is now moving online as a virtual race series.

The marathon slogan ‘more than a marathon’ has never been more apt. Cork City Council are calling on those who had registered to run for their chosen charities to use the marathon’s virtual races as a means to “run together by running apart” while observing the current guidelines. Supporters can continue to cheer on their friends and family across the Cork City Marathon social media channels.

The first virtual races will start this weekend on 31 May and will continue throughout the summer until 6 September.

Speaking on Cork City Council’s plans, race director Adrienne Rodgers said: “The current restrictions on mass gatherings and activities only take us to 10 August but, cognisant of the existing advice, we don’t believe it would be possible to run the event safely in its usual format in September.”

For those already registered for the 2020 marathon all entries will be automatically deferred to the 2021 race, which will take place on the June Bank Holiday weekend – Sunday 6 June 2021. Refunds are also available by emailing info@corkcitymarathon.ie Those who have registered for the 2020 race are instead offered the chance to participate in a series of engaging virtual marathon challenges where the focus will be on community spirit with a touch of competition.

Participants registered for the Cork City Marathon 2020 are encouraged to walk, jog or run one of the five distance categories available through the virtual race website which goes live on 31 May. Participants can achieve their selected distance across a number of days or weeks within the race time period (while always following Government advice on social distancing). Their final accumulated race times can be submitted via an easy-to-use e-form which is available on the Cork City Marathon website.

“We are hopeful that everyone who had registered for 2020 will stay registered and will continue to show their support for this race through the virtual races" added Ms. Rodgers. "We invite spectators who are not registered to tune in to our social channels to cheer the registered participants on.”

2019 Cork City Marathon winner, current Irish 50km champion and Irish record holder Gary O’Hanlon has given the virtual races his full support and says; “This is a brilliant initiative that I’m delighted to be involved with. It will add a longer life strand to the marathon and gives people the opportunity to continue to reach their target of running a marathon in a very manageable way. It’s going to sustain and grow the marathon community’s involvement while continuing to make it increasingly accessible to all.”

Race news B.A.A. Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon cancelled

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The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced on 28 May that the 124th Boston Marathon has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, following a decision by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. It is the first time in the event’s history that it has missed a year.

The race had originally been scheduled for 20 April but postponed to 14 September. It will be replaced by a virtual event.

“Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters,” said Tom Grilk, C.E.O. of the B.A.A. “While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon.”

All participants who were originally registered for the 20 April event will be offered a full refund of their entry fee associated with the race and will have the opportunity to participate in the virtual alternative to the 124th Boston Marathon, which can be run any time between 7–14 September. The B.A.A. will also offer a series of virtual events and activities throughout September’s Marathon Week in an effort to bring the Boston Marathon experience to the constituencies that the organisation serves here in Boston, across the United States, and around the world.

Participants in the virtual 2020 Boston Marathon will be required to complete the 26.2 mile distance within a six-hour time period and provide proof of timing to the B.A.A. All athletes who complete the virtual race will receive an official Boston Marathon program, participant t-shirt, medal, and runner’s bib.

The B.A.A. 5K scheduled for 12 September has also been cancelled due to coronavirus. All participants who were originally registered for the April 18, 2020 event will be offered a refund.

The B.A.A. has been regularly communicating with city and state officials to discuss all efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. For the 35th year, John Hancock will serve as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon.

Registration for the 2021 Boston Marathon will open towards the end of September 2020. The beginning of the qualifying window to be used for application and entry into the 2021 Boston Marathon has been established to be 15 September 2018, which means that qualifying performances posted for the 2020 event will be accepted into the 2021 race, as well. Achieving and submitting a qualifying time during Boston Marathon registration does not guarantee acceptance into the Boston Marathon.

Running news

Hokuren Distance Challenge may go ahead

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

Following the nationwide lifting of the state of emergency in Japan Hokkaido’s Hokuren Distance Challenge may be held on its planned dates from 4–18 July on a reduced scale.

According to a source involved with the series, based on the advice of experts the 10000m will be cut, with only events of 5000m and shorter held in order to reduce the size of the series’ meets and keep them in line with government social distancing guidelines.

The Japanese Association of Athletic Federations earlier requested that no races be held until July, but if the Hokuren series does go ahead it will likely signal a restart of the track and field season.

The number of people allowed to participate in the series will likely be limited, with priority given to upper-tier athletes. Many issues such as accommodation and the number of race and athlete support personnel permitted on-site have yet to be worked out. One of the organisers commented, “The series will bring in a lot of people from outside Hokkaido. We are still at the point of coordinating with the local government on anti-coronavirus protocols and ensuring the safety of staff.”

Running news

1000 run again in Chengdu

By Christel Schemel | German Road Races

Schemel weid china masken

Around 1000 runners took part in 6km “mini marathon” in Chengdu in the first running event to take place in China since Coronavirus restrictions were first put in place.

Participants had to show health certificates beforehand, their temperatures were taken and they all wore masks. Groups of 100 were set off at 2-minute intervals to allow for some distancing. Organisers emphasised that it was “not a competition but a measure of trust”.

There was some discussion beforehand whether it was too early for such an event but approval was given and the run was considered a success.

Race news EDP Lisbon Half Marathon

EDP Lisbon Half Marathon postponed until May 2021

The EDP Lisbon Half Marathon, which had been rescheduled for 6 September 2020, has again been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. It will now take place on 9 May 2021.

Portugal recently extended the ban on major events until at least 30 September. Rules around social distancing, mandatory use of face masks, capacity limits for enclosed spaces and an ongoing civic duty to remain home mean the organisers of the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon have had to take the decision to postpone the event to next year.

All runners registered for 2020 are now automatically registered for 9 May 2021. They will be emailed with the instructions on how to either: Confirm participation in 2021 on 9 May; exchange their registration for a voucher that can be used in 2021 or 2022 editions, or; transfer their registration to someone else, at no charge

The 36-month time limit for completing the series and becoming a “SuperRunner” only begins after the first race is completed.

Updated 2020 Race Calendar

The races in Prague (rescheduled for 6 September), Copenhagen, Cardiff and Valencia are still scheduled to go ahead but the situation is changing daily in every country and government advice is updating. Further notifications will be posted if there are further changes.

06/09/2020 – Prague Half
13/09/2020 – Copenhagen Half
04/10/2020 – Cardiff Half
25/10/2020 – Valencia Half

Running news

National road race record in Norway

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Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) ran 13:28 to win a 5km road race in Stavanger on the evening of 20 May. The 19-year old Norwegian moved up to fifth place in the annual world best list.

That the race took place at all generated international interest. Norwegian television NRK aired it live and it was streamed worldwide on the Internet.

Despite the coronavirus crisis the local organizer “Arrangerklubben Spirit” put on a race that largely complied with the applicable rules during the pandemic and could be a pioneer for similar runs. It was a race for Norwegian elite athletes and started in groups set off at intervals.

The starting line-up allowed for minimum distances between the runners but during the race smaller groups of athletes formed who ran relatively close together. Some photos showed hardly any difference to leading groups in traditional road races.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran nine seconds inside the Norwegian record on with a time of 13:28. One of Jakob’s older brothers, Henrik Ingebrigtsen, came second with 13:32 – a time that was faster than the previous national record. Per Svela was third in 13:40.

[German Road Races]

Date changes Siberian International Marathon

Race date for Siberian International Marathon (RUS) changed

The Siberian International Marathon (RUS) will take place on Sun 2 August 2020, not Sat 1 August 2020 as previously published.

Race news Gold Coast Marathon

Gold Coast Marathon cancelled

Organisers have confirmed that the 41st edition of the Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon, due to be held on the weekend of 4-5 July, has been cancelled.

Plans for the race were put on hold in March but the organisers still hoped to deliver an event as scheduled.

The organisers’ statement read: “The Queensland Government’s strong approach to addressing the COVID-19 threat which includes restricted gatherings, reduced travel opportunities and a declaration that the Queensland Public Health Emergency has been extended to 17 August 2020 makes it impossible to deliver this year’s event.

“We have already started to work with our strategic partners, sponsors, and stakeholders to make sure the 2021 edition scheduled for 3-4 July will be a very special and memorable event.

“An exciting free virtual running event will be available this July and details will be released very soon.

“Those runners who have already registered for the 2020 Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon, will be contacted directly about the processing of registration fee refunds.”

Running news

Inaugural Nagasaki Peace Marathon postponed

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

The organising committee of the Nagasaki Peace Marathon has postponed plans for the inaugural race to be held on 29 November.

It would have been the first full marathon to be held in the city, planned as a commemoration of the 75th anniversary year of the US atomic bombing of the city. The organisers have concluded that it is not possible to estimate when the worldwide coronavirus crisis will end, saying: “We hope to be able to stage the race next year, and will plan accordingly, but the priority before that is for the coronavirus crisis to come to a resolution so that the event can be put on safely. Once that is the case we will examine a new schedule for the event.

“We sincerely apologise to all those who had looking forward to the race in anticipation. All runners already entered in this year’s race will have their entry fees fully refunded, and we plan to do everything we can to give them priority in entering the rescheduled race. Runners who have already entered will also be contacted directly.”

Running news

Biggest ever UK fundraiser passes 10 million mark

By Horst Milde

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A record number of 3,961 charities have backed The 2.6 Challenge. This makes the UK charity bailout campaign the largest collective fundraiser ever done in Britain – and it’s believed in the world – and the amount raised has now passed the GBP10 million mark.

On Sunday, April 26, 2020 , thousands of runners and spectators at the 40th edition of the London Marathon should have turned the streets of the capital into a colourful carnival. Instead, they ran, cycled, hopped, jumped, boiled, flipped, turned, raged, danced, dressed up and had fun collecting donations in a uniquely British way in the 2.6 Challenge.

The event brought joy to the lockdown as the nation banded together on behalf of 3961 UK charities. Just 15 days after launch more than GBP10m (USD12.5m) had been raised from a campaign launched and carried out in just three weeks. Organisers of the country’s largest mass sporting events came together to launch the campaign to help rescue Britain’s charities struggling with an estimated GBP4 billion (USD5bn) deficit .

Hugh Brasher, Co-Chairman of the Group of Mass Participating Sports Event Organizers (MSO) and Event Director of London Marathon Events, said: “This is an exceptional success story. The first virtual meeting on the 2.6 Challenge took place on 3 April and just over five weeks later the campaign enabled this record number of charities to collaborate and raise over £10m. This is a completely new model of fundraising.”

Nick Rusling, co-chair of MSO and CEO of Human Race , said: “In addition to the success of fundraising, the 2.6 Challenge created a positive focus. At a time when isolation is a real problem the spirit behind the challenge brought families, streets, colleagues and friends together.”

The organisers of the mass events behind the 2.6 Challenge are Human Race, Parkrun, The Great Run Company, Run 4 Wales, Grounded Events, London Landmarks, Virgin Sport, Limelight Sports, Threshold Sports, Running High and London Marathon Events.

Running news

Advice to race organisers

From runBritain:

With runners in many countries housebound or facing other restrictions on their assembly and movement “virtual” events have blossomed.

A virtual event is where athletes and runners compete while physically isolated or ‘virtually’. The aim is to run a specified distance or a for a specified time over the course of a designated ‘race window’.

Race directors and event organisers must ensure that runners are encouraged to follow all relevant guidance from the government, police and sporting authorities when participating in virtual racing.

Runners should consider the time of day and period of time they exercise and carefully select their route in order to be able to maintain social distancing to stay clear of other people using public spaces.

Event organisers are not expected to provide first aid cover for their virtual event but must ensure that pre-race information gives guidance for runners in case of accident or injury. This could include reminding athletes to: inform someone of where they are going, to check in with them on their return and to carry an ICE (in case of emergency) card with their details. Event organisers must confirm that they have issued first aid instructions to their runners when applying for their race licence.

At conventional events the event organiser must ensure that the facilities used for their event are suitable but In virtual events the organiser’s influence over the course could be limited. What influence they have is most often used to encourage runners not to use the course that has been used for actual events. Under the current Covid-19 restrictions it is preferable that participants choose their own route. Guidance should be offered on planning an appropriate route for their run as well as any other factors runners should consider.

When the event organiser sets the route for a virtual run (such as a well-known loop in the local area or a Strava segment, etc.), they should ensure that the exact route is communicated clearly and is accessible to all participants who should be instructed to consider the best time to run in order to meet social distancing requirements. This is easier to manage the longer the allowable ‘window’ is kept open for the event.

Events organised by clubs affiliated to national athletics federations may receive public liability insurance under a national ‘umbrella’ policy. Licensed virtual races may be covered free of charge.

You should carry out a risk assessment ahead of your event and ensure this can be made available to the federation. Participants should conduct an assessment of their own route, but event organisers are still expected to have measures in place to ensure that participants’ safely, including guidance on planning a suitable route and procedures to follow in case of accident or injury. These should be outlined in the event plan and risk assessment.

The organisers should plan how event results will be compiled in advance. There are electronic systems available commercially to assist with this or it can be done manually. Determine how much information is required from participants (times, distances, elevation, detailed routes, route maps, etc.) communicate this in advance. If runners are required to use a specific method or app to track their performance it should be readily available and support provided with its use if required.

Actual race performances must not be uploaded to runners’ profiles or used for any rankings/handicap scoring purposes.

Potential issues should be identified in the risk assessment. Your event plan should also identify and describe procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency and communicated to all relevant parties.

It is best to hold a de-brief with the event team afterwards. This will make you aware of any issues, feedback or incidents, allow you to reflect on the event itself and be of help in planning for next time. It is also beneficial to seek feedback from participants if you plan to hold a similar event again.

Race news 3 Country Sparkasse Marathon

Risk-free registration for 3 Country Marathon

There are still 20 weeks to go before the 2020 Sparkasse 3 Country Marathon (AUT) is held on 4 October.

The organisers are assuming that it will go ahead while observing certain precautions. But if it is cancelled entry fees will not be lost for participants who have already registered. Entries will be automatically transferred to next year’s race on 10 October 2021.If that date does not fit then a transfer to the following year is also possible (9 October 2022).

A refund of the participation fee is also possible. However, we hope that one of the two dates and the expected running experience at the 3 Country Sparkasse Marathon on Lake Constance will not make this third option necessary.

With a risk-free entry there is nothing to lose by registering now: http://www.sparkasse-3-laender-marathon.at/de/anmeldung/

Running news Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon cancelled

Following long discussion with the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) Board and KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA), Athletics South Africa has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Comrades Marathon.

Making the announcement, ASA President Aleck Skhosana said: “Cancelling what would have been the 95th edition of the Comrades Marathon was a long and arduous decision to make. With the race’s rich history, its powerful nation-building attributes and contribution towards social cohesion, as well as its immense economic impact, it would have been premature to rush into an outright cancellation sooner. However, we believe we have jointly arrived at the correct decision to protect the health and safety of all concerned as well as the lives of our fellow South Africans.”

The 95th edition will now be run in 2021 and will be the 47th “down” run, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban and will mark the Centenary of the Comrades Marathon Association which was founded on 24th May 1921.

Exactly 80 years ago Comrades Marathon organisers faced a similar dilemma in deciding whether to stage the 20th Comrades Marathon some eight months into the conflagration of World War II. At the last moment it was decided to go ahead with just 23 starters, following the withdrawal of many runners who had been mobilised for the war effort. Only 10 runners completed the 1940 Comrades Marathon. The following year the race was cancelled and remained so for the duration of the war (1941–1945), as the organisers, runners and supporters stood in solidarity with all those who suffered the horrors and atrocities of war, similar to that of the World War 1 which had inspired the foundation of the Comrades Marathon.

CMA Chairperson Cheryl Winn commented: “We thank each of our runners, supporters, volunteers and sponsors for their patience, fortitude and steadfast support over the past two months during which we have wrangled with this difficult decision. Sad as it is, as CMA we can now turn our focus towards the staging of our Centenary Celebrations next year in the comfort of knowing we can rely on the passionate loyalty and participation of so many.”

The Czech Athletics Federation and the Estonian Athletics Association have both confirmed that their national championships will be held on the weekend of 8–9 August.

AIMS news GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

2020 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon cancelled

The Victoria Marathon Society has made the regrettable decision to cancel the 2020 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, scheduled for 11 October.

On 6 May the British Columbia Provincial Government announced the next stage in their COVID-19 response which includes a phased relaxation of physical distancing rules. However, it was stated that the restrictions on gatherings of more than 50 people will remain in effect until a vaccine is found. Given this context, it is not possible for the Society to stage the event.

“We are deeply disappointed to have to cancel the event,” said Jonathan Foweraker, President of the Victoria Marathon Society. “We are sensitive to the impact this will have on our valued sponsors, community partners, vendors, and volunteers as well as our participants and charitable partners.”

Running news

Czech update

RunCzech has announced the re-opening of its “Running Mall” headquarters in Prague with a full menu of services and activities available.

Saso Belovski writes: “We are delighted that we are now able to invite you and your team to come and enjoy our Active Days program at the Running Mall. To run and hang out, or have a meeting. Fully complimentary, courtesy of the RunCzech Team. And of course, in line with all the required precautions.”

Current coronavirus precautions in the Czech Republic permit meetings of up to 100 people.

Race news Midnight Sun Marathon

Slow easing of lockdown in Norway

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Nils Heatta of Midnight Sun Marathon reports a slight easing of restrictions in Norway: “From now we can start training again in organised groups of up to 20 but everyone has to keep the 1m distance from each other. It’s allowed to have meetings with fewer than 50 people and from 15 June this is due to be raised to up to 200.

“We are hoping that we can hold our mountain races at the end of August but things can change fast if the coronavirus cases take an upturn.

“We were lucky that we could hold the PolarNight Halfmarathon in January before the Coronavirus shut down everything.”

Race news Volksbank-Münster-Marathon

Cautious optimism in Münster

Organisers of the Volksbank-Münster-Marathon (GER) have held detailed discussions about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the current situation.

Initial optimism for the marathon in mid-September was followed by more and more doubt, but recent relaxation of public health restrictions and a decline in the number of new infections are now allowing the team to hope once more.

All members of the organising team are well aware that it is far from definite whether the race can be run on 20 September. So the team has set itself a deadline of 30 June for a final decision, hoping that reliable official information will be available by then.

For all runners the lowest early bird prices are now still valid until 30 June. The full price was originally planned to be charged from 15 May. The organisers state expressly that there is no risk in registering for the marathon: in the event of cancellation all runners will be able to either keep their places for next year or obtain a full refund of the registration fee. “We are currently going full steam ahead on the race – although the loss if we have to cancel will be painful for our non-profit,” said the organising team, which is comprised mostly of unpaid volunteers.

Race news Eilat Full Desert Marathon

Running everywhere

We run

Marathon Israel, organisers of the Eilat Desert Marathon, Sea of Galilee Tiberias Marathon and others have launched the “Freedom and Life Virtual 10km race” and an associated platform for communication “We Run Everywhere”.

It is an event to express the unity of runners during the difficult times we have all been going through. Participants from more than 20 countries have already registered and exchanged experiences and news, creating solutions on how to train and stay in shape, how to stay safe, how to not feel alone, and how to maintain good spirits.

At the end of the event on 31 May an online raffle will be held with free slots for future international running events which have been postponed due to the global situation. Participating races include Jerusalem, Tiberias, Prague, Desert, Bible, Limassol and Sochi Marathons. We invite all events organisers to join “We Run Everywhere” and connect with runners from over the world.

Free on-line registration and event page: https://www.facebook.com/we.run.everywhere1/
https://www.marathonisrael.co.il/en/event/we-run-everywhere/

Event organisers contact Irina Outchen: ira@marathonIsrael.co.il

Running news

Salazar doping report handed over

The BBC reports on its website that UK Athletics (UKA) has handed over the full 2015 report into the handling of the Alberto Salazar scandal to UK Anti-Doping (Ukad).

UKA had previously failed to respond to repeated requests to hand over its report into the way it handled its relationship with disgraced running coach Salazar. Ukad had previously seen only an executive summary.

The report cleared British athlete Mo Farah – a 5000m and 10,000m Olympic gold medallist at London 2012 and Rio 2016 – to continue working with former coach Salazar, who was then banned from the sport in 2019 after being found guilty of doping violations. John Mehrzad QC’s review revealed that the report had involved Mo Farah’s data being looked at by medical experts.

A UKA spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the 2015 report has been provided to Ukad. We will continue to assist Ukad with any further queries [and] remain fully committed to protecting the integrity of the sport and the pursuit of clean athletics.”

Running news

Training groups set to go in Germany

Training facilities in Germany are set to re-open from 11 May.

The City of Regensburg has devised special hygiene and clearance rules to allow this to happen, approved by the Bavarian State Government, the Bavarian Athletics Association for the design of hygiene and distancing rules and the Sports Office of the City of Regensburg and its director Johann Nuber for creating the local regulations and Coronavirus-adapted systems. The City of Regensburg operates the training facilities used in the city.

[germanroadraces.de]

Date changes Monterey Bay Half Marathon

Race date for Monterey Bay Half Marathon (USA) changed

The Monterey Bay Half Marathon (USA) will take place on Sat 14 November 2020, not Sun 15 November 2020 as previously published.

Running news

Stay at home training advice

Before you begin an at-home fitness regime, Pamela Geisel, MS, CSCS, exercise physiologist & manager of performance services at Hospital for Special Surgery (a partner of New York Road Runners), has some advice to help you assess the best kind of workout for yourself.

“We tend to gravitate to things we like and are good at,” Geisel says, “but now is an excellent time to focus on where our weaknesses may be.” If you lack flexibility, for instance, now is a good time to work stretching into your routine. If you have always wanted to do a full push-up, focus on strength. Geisel also recommends a five-minute warm-up and cool-down added to each workout.

“If you are someone who has been working out three or four days [a week], now is not the time to start working out six or seven days a week,” says Geisel. She follows the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, which recommend 2–3 days a week of strength, balance, and flexibility training, in addition to 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise weekly.

Look for workouts like yoga or dance that combine these aspects into a single class. For runners Geisel also recommends a workout that involves all three planes of motion: front to back, side to side, and rotational.

While many of us are searching for ways to stay fit keep in mind that changes to routines and daily lives can add stress and anxiety, as can changes in mood and sleep patterns, all of which are heightened now during the pandemic. “A healthy diet, proper nutrition, and a good night’s sleep go a long way in keeping us healthy!” says Geisel. She recommends that runners set an alarm, limit exposure to blue light (from computers and other screens) before bed, and make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep.

We all want a return to our previous routine, but now might be the time to step back and reassess your training. If you adapt a new routine, ease into it, following best practices, good form, and taking days off to recover.

Find those exercises you enjoy – and most importantly, have fun.

Race news Big Sur International Marathon

Big Sur donating masks

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In a one-for-one relief effort the Big Sur Marathon Foundation will donate a mask to medical partner, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) for every purchase of a custom mask.

For the past few weeks, CHOMP has been collecting masks for healthcare workers who are not providing direct patient care, but are still required to wear a mask. Big Sur Marathon aims to help them reach their goal of collecting 2000 masks.

The USD12 masks cover the mouth and nose comfortably and can be used for everything from exercising responsibly to going to the grocery store – all while showing your #bigsurmarathon pride.

The CDC recommends rotating between a few masks so that you can wash and lay flat to dry after each outing. Be safe, stay healthy, and keep running responsibly.

Running news

Athletics to re-start in Finland

Finnish media reports that a series of national-level athletics competitions are planned.

To observe government guidelines no more than 50 people will be on the field at the same time. Fields will be much smaller than normal and field event athletes will keep their distance from other competitors and officials at all times.

One of the first competitions will be held in Lahti on 7 June, where national steeplechase champion Topi Raitanen is set to compete.in the 3000m flat.

Race news Rimi Riga Marathon

Riga organises virtual run

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The Rimi Riga Marathon (LAT) has appealed to runners to take part in a virtual race on the date of its cancelled event.

“Just like you, we are very eager to celebrate running and keep the spirit of marathon alive, even it is not possible together in person,” said the organisers.

Runners are invited to go for a family run on May 16, or to run their chosen distance of marathon, half marathon or anything else on May 17.

The race organisers asked runners in Latvia not to attempt to run the cancelled event’s planned routes in Riga itself. “We will run them together in autumn when we celebrate the 30th Rimi Riga Marathon,” said the race.

Race news Midnight Sun Marathon

Situation in Norway

Nils Heatta of Midnight Sun Marathon reports: In Norway everything has been shut down. Schools, kindergartens, shops, hotels, sports arenas are all closed. Training in groups of more than five is prohibited and you have to keep the 2m distance. We were unable to travel from southern Norway to the north without ending up spending 14 days in quarantine.

Now things are opening up again and we can travel inside Norway – but only with special reason. People are still staying at home and do not travel much.

Today [6 May] there will be an announcement from the national health authorities about sporting activities. We expect that training in a group of up to 50 people will be allowed. From 15 June this will perhaps increase to 200 people if they can maintain a distance of one metre. The ban on larger gatherings will remain until 1 September so nearly all races have been cancelled or postponed until after then.

Running news

RRW suggests restructuring bonuses

With so many events cancelled Race Results Weekly (RRW) suggests that now is a good time for marathon race directors to re-think different aspects of how their events are organised.

One area for possible consideration is their elite athlete time bonus structures which are likely based on out-of-date data, writes RRW. The depth of fast times in some recent marathons has been staggering.

RRW proposes some approaches such as to reduce bonus amounts, shorten bonus schedules, limit bonus depth by place, limit the total bonus pool, shift to private bonuses, offer just a winner bonus, plough the bonus budget into prize money.

As shoe designers from different companies continue to incorporate similar carbon plate and bouncy midsole foam technologies, a new base level of performance will be established and perceptions will be changed. Eventually, times which seemed eye-popping just a few years ago will become the norm. Bonus schedules should be re-calibrated to reflect this.

Running news

Doping control in the age of coronavirus

Sir Craig Reedie, former WADA President and IOC member, has warned that drug cheats taking advantage of the slowdown in doping control programmes “is taking a risk for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is now a much greater degree of intelligence within WADA and other anti-doping organisations about where the cheats come from, geographically where they are and other aspects of intelligence. Secondly, we are now better in laboratory examinations, we’ve got a comprehensive list of prohibited substances and there is some understanding that if the 2020 Games are going ahead [in 2021] it is very important for sports that people behave. Lastly, we will store samples for a long period and as soon as science gets better we will retest them so anyone who cheats may well be caught.”

Running news

South Sudan team stay in Japan

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

The postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the coronavirus crisis was a major setback for countless athletes.

But, having been in Japan since November 2019 for pre-Olympic training, the South Sudanese national track and field team has chosen to stay based in Japan.

If athletes want to train in South Sudan the only places to work out are empty fields. There are none of the facilities people take for granted in Japan. So when the national team received news of the first-ever Olympic postponement, they decided to stay in Japan at least until July in order to maximize their training opportunities.

The South Sudanese team staying in Maebashi is made up of five people, one female and two male Olympians, one male Paralympian, and one coach. In the spirit of supporting peace through sports, the Maebashi city government decided in late March to extend its support for the team by providing accommodation and meals, a rented public truck, volunteer coaches and interpreters. The team members have visited local schools and taken part in local events, telling students and residents about the situation in their country, which became independent in 2011 and is still recovering from the effects of civil war. They’ve also done training sessions with local children and begun to study basic Japanese.

Day by day the team’s athletes spend their time training in a land over 10,000km from their homeland, but they say that they are enjoying their lives here. Slated to compete in the men’s 1500 m, 21-year-old Abraham Majok Matet Guem said, “Before we came to Japan, I didn’t know what kind of people lived there. I never expected them to be so welcoming. Thanks to them I don’t really miss my own country. It’s a very calm place to be and we’re surrounded by kindhearted people. It was such a surprise.”

By reallocating local taxes the city has so far put together 14 million yen (USD130,000, EUR120,000) for the South Sudanese team and is continuing to work on raising the rest of the money needed to cover the estimated 20 million yen cost (USD185,000, EUR173,000) of having them stay until July. Immediately after the postponement of the Games was announced city officials had promised the team that they would be able to host them until at least that point. Maebashi city sports department official Shinichi Hagiwara said, “We’d like to continue supporting them.” What happens from August on will be determined based on discussions with the South Sudanese Olympic Committee, the Japanese government, and the team itself.

The athletes hope that at some point in the future they will be able to invite the people of Maebashi to visit the South Sudan in return for the welcome they have received. Guem said, “People would be afraid to go to the South Sudan as it is now. But I believe that a day is coming soon when our country will be a peaceful place and everyone will have the freedom to travel. I would be very happy to meet the people of Maebashi again there.”

Having left his mother and seven brothers and sisters behind in the South Sudan to come train in Japan, Guem said that the Olympics’ postponement was only a minor setback to achieving his goals. “My dream has always been to become an Olympic medalist before I retire from track and field,” he said. “I want to keep training so that someday I will become a champion. There is still time to make that happen.”

Race news Zafiro Palma Marathon

Palma caps numbers for safety

Organisers of the Palma Marathon (ESP) on 11 October have announced a 50% reduction in entries as one of the first measures to help ensure safe conditions for runners.

They plan to cap entries at 5000 runners between the three distances offered: 10km, half marathon and marathon. The announcement comes as, after nearly two months confined to their homes, Spanish national athletes have been able to resume training outdoors.

Running news

Swiss 48 hour challenge

By Alfons Juck | EME News

Organisers of the Weltklasse Diamond League in Zurich are launching the “OneMillionRun” to try to encourage Swiss people to tally up 1,000,000km between them over 48 hours from 30–31 May.

The digital setup will allow participants to be part of a decentralised popular sports event and make them feel connected in times of “social distancing”. Each participant will run for himself or herself and yet for a joint cause: one million kilometres.

Running news

Returning runners reproached by public

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Elite Spanish runners, who have just been allowed to train outdoors again, report being reprimanded by members of the public.

“Due to my elite national athlete status I can train at any time of the day.” tweeted marathon runner Javier Guerra. “We should understand that we are in an extreme situation but always with respect.”

Carlos Mayo added: “I have received five verbal attention calls, including a lady screaming from her balcony. I have felt a lot of helplessness because I consider that I was not doing anything wrong, complying with the rules and doing it at a certain time for the reasons that I have already explained.”

Running news

Japanese races face uncertainty over autumn dates

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

On 28 April the Shimada Oikawa Marathon scheduled for 25 October, with 6589 marathon finishers and 1685 finishers in its accompanying 10 km last year announced that it was cancelling this year’s 12th edition.

Shimada Oikawa was one of the many October/November marathons to have earlier postponed opening registrations – delaying from 15 April to 1 June. Citing the continued spread of the coronavirus and uncertainty about what conditions will be like this autumn, organisers made the decision to pull the plug.

As it currently stands, Japan’s autumn marathon season is looking like this. Numbers are full marathon finisher totals last time.

  • 4 Oct: Tohoku Miyagi Fukko Marathon (7,457) – scheduled
  • 4 Oct: Matsumoto Marathon (6,455)- scheduled, final decision in early May
  • 18 Oct: Chiba Aqualine Marathon (9,541) – cancelled
  • 25 Oct: Mito Komon Marathon (9,995) – cancelled
  • 25 Oct: Shimada Oikawa Marathon (6,589) – cancelled
  • 25 Oct: Iwate Morioka City Marathon (5,729) – scheduled
  • 1 Nov: Yokohama Marathon (25,195) – scheduled, final decision by May 14
  • 1 Nov: Toyama Marathon (12,603) – entries suspended
  • 8 Nov: Fukuoka Marathon (11,349) – cancelled
  • 15 Nov: Kobe Marathon (19,444) – scheduled, lottery results to be announced on June 16
  • 22 Nov: Tsukuba Marathon (11,461) – cancelled
  • 23 Nov: Ohtawara Marathon (1,697) – cancelled
  • 29 Nov: Osaka Marathon (31,594) – entries suspended
  • 29 Nov: Nagasaki Peace marathon (1st running, field of 10,000) – scheduled
  • 6 Dec: Shonan International Marathon (16,821) – to be announced
  • 6 Dec: Naha Marathon (14,660) – entries suspended until early July
  • 6 Dec: Fukuoka International Marathon (370) – to be announced
  • 13 Dec: Saitama International Marathon (13,340) – cancelled
  • 13 Dec: Nara Marathon (11,137) – scheduled
  • 20 Dec.: Hofu Marathon (2,724) – to be announced

In the same way that the Tokyo Marathon, along with Hong Kong and Chinese races, ended up foreshadowing what was going to happen everywhere else this spring, the above is probably an indication of what to expect elsewhere in the world this autumn.

Running news

Information about RunningUSA.org events

Running USA have produced an alphabetical index of their member races under several different headings according to whether they have been cancelled, postponed, are hosting a virtual event or have issued a general statement.

The listing provides a link to the individual race websites where there is more detailed information available.

See: runningusa.org/RUSA/News/2020/Running-USA-Member-Events-Impacted-by-COVID-19

Running news

Limited training to be allowed for key Italian athletes

By Alfons Juck | EME News

The Italian athletics federation (FIDAL) met virtually on 28 April to consider the government decree that “athletes of national interest” will be allowed to return to training facilities on 4 May.

FIDAL has come up with protocol for deciding which athletes are included.

Running news

Low-level sport will return before mass events, predicts expert

By Alfons Juck | EME News

A member of the expert group of the World Health Organisation says lower-level sport will be easier to bring back after coronavirus restrictions than larger events.

Brian McCloskey told the BBC: “The bigger the competition the more complicated mitigating actions will have to be and therefore the less likely it is that they can be done safely. So an event that involves lots of travel across the country or between countries… (it is) much more complicated to see how that happens. A local event, community football, running… (it’s) much easier to see how that happens.”

Running news

New pandemic fund launched

World Athletics and the International Athletics Foundation (IAF) have launched a USD 500,000 (EUR 457,000) fund to support professional athletes experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund will be used to assist athletes who have lost most of their income in the last few months due to the suspension of international competition while the world combats the global health emergency.

Applications for assistance will be submitted through the six continental Area Associations of World Athletics.

Running news

Czech Republic plans track season

By Alfons Juck | EME News

After the Czech Government’s decision to allow gatherings of up to 50 people from 25 May the Czech Athletic Federation (CAF) is preparing a series of six elite “micro-meetings” which will start the competitive season on 1 June.

There will be events held around the country. CAF President Libor Vaharnik said: “We want to engage athletes of all age categories and performance levels and to encourage organisers across the country to return to their stadiums, albeit with limited conditions.”

Running news

Ultramarathon – around a tree

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

The weekend of 25-26 April saw what may be the best ‘social distancing’ running performance yet.

In Tokyo’s western suburbs, on a riverbank, around a tree, for 54 hours and 40 minutes, 25-year-old Goshi Osada ran 10,667 laps of a 15m trail with 1m difference between its highest and lowest points, covering 100 miles (just over 160km), and climbing higher than Mount Everest and back down en route.

Race news H.C. Andersen Marathon

HCA Marathon hopes to go ahead in September

Denmark

Eric Juhl Mogensen of Hans Christian Andersen Marathon reports from Denmark:

We are still optimistic of the race going ahead on 27 September. There is a maximum of 500 allowable participants in force until 1 September 2020. We hope the Government will look to Germany/Berlin and increase the limit to 5000 participants if there still is a maximum after 1 September – this is a number we can work with.

Until then we are trying to find new paths to follow. On 19 April, together with six other running organisations, we did the virtual run “Denmark is running” with 31,500 participants. Each started outside their own door and ran/walked 5, 10 or 21.1km at 11.00 and then tapped in their time when they had finished the distance.

On race day we had a studio with livestream from 10.30 to 13.30 with hosts and a back-up group making facetime calls to hotspots and runners around the country. We reached a total audience of 32,000 unique users. It was free to enter but if the participants could donate an amount to the organisers to cover the costs of the total setup. We did it for promotion (a planned cost) but ended with a small surplus.

Media-wise we ended being in all national and regional media on TV, radio and in print.

We asked the participants to be dressed in our red and white national colours and send in photos and videos – more than 7000 were received. We made up the poster using about 800 pictures featuring runners and town name signs.

Running news

No sports in France until at least September

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says that no sporting events will be held in the country before September, even those without any spectators present.

AIMS news

Mass participation Fukuoka Marathon cancelled

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

In the light of the coronavirus’s constantly changing impact and the difficulty of assessing the future situation, the organisers of the 2020 Fukuoka Marathon, scheduled for 8 November have cancelled the race.

Translator Brett Larner adds: This is the mass-participation Fukuoka Marathon, not December’s elite Fukuoka International Marathon. The Fukuoka Marathon had earlier suspended opening entries for this year’s race as it assessed the feasibility of staging a race with a field of over 10,000 given the current circumstances.

The 1 November Toyama Marathon and 29 November Osaka Marathon have likewise suspended opening registrations. The 18 October Chiba Aqualine Marathon, 25 October Mito Komon Manyu Marathon and 22 November Tsukuba Marathon have cancelled outright. All of these races have fields of 10,000 to 15,000 except Osaka, which last year had 31,594 finishers to rank it among the world’s ten biggest marathons.

Running news

Uncertainty continues over running events

By Phil Stewart | Road Race Management

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought increasing confusion to the race calendar.

Races which had been postponed in March now face greater uncertainty relating to the new dates than had been earlier anticipated, and are having to make further big decisions on postponement, cancellation, or wholesale revision of the race presentation. The Berlin, Boston, London, and Chicago Marathons – all part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors series – have taken different approaches to managing this but all converged on a one-month window. Both Boston and London have already postponed once from April.

Projected race dates

14 September: The Boston Marathon, postponed from 20 April, has extended the deadline for registrants to opt out of the race and receive a refund until 26 May.

27 September: The Berlin Marathon has postponed the race indefinitely. The German Federal Government has banned gatherings of more than 5000 people until 31 August, but the Berlin Senate extended this to 24 October for Berlin.

4 October: The London Marathon, postponed from 26 April, is considering the option of an elite-only race as was done in the Tokyo Marathon in March..

11 October: The Chicago Marathon offers runners a guaranteed place in the 2021 race if they choose not to run this year. There will be no refunds.

1 November: The New York City Marathon still has the race scheduled for its original date.

Running news

London Marathon might be elite-only

The Guardian newspaper quotes London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher as saying that, while he hopes the London Marathon will take place as normal on 4 October, it might have to be an elite-only race.

“We are trying to stay agile and to keep scenario planning,” he said. He would not confirm whether Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele had signed up for the revised October race.

Running news

Restrictions relaxed for Israeli Olympians

The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel’s Health Ministry will allow Olympic athletes to return to their training regimens in light of the recent easing of coronavirus restrictions on commerce and educational institutions.

Running news

How far did you go, really?

By Tom Gray | Focal Point

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For distance runners across the globe the COVID 19 lockdown has wrought havoc on their running routines.

Cancellation of races or only being allowed to run solo is the least of it. In the UK allowance is still made for daily exercise but in other countries like Italy, France and South Africa, exercise has either been banned or restricted to the immediate surrounds of the home.

The result has been the rise of the lockdown marathon. It may have started with French runner Elisha Nochomovitz who, having been prevented from running the Paris Marathon after its six-month postponement, ran the length of a marathon on his 7m balcony.

In South Africa, where exercise outside the home is completely banned, runners across the nation have signed up to the Mzansi Marathon, pledging to run 2km per day in order to achieve a marathon by the end of lockdown (or an ultra-marathon, should the lockdown be extended). Some South Africans have gone even further – Paul Eichert ran 100km in his backyard.

These efforts have highlighted a major problem that until now was perhaps less widely known: the very limited accuracy of running wearables.

Take the ‘balcony marathon’ and look at the sheer insanity of the record that Elisha got from his wearable and posted on Strava. If we were to believe the data then his balcony is a few hundred metres wide, spans several highways and includes elevation changes of over 20 vertical metres.

Colin Harper, a veteran of the Marathon des Sables, had carefully measured out and calculated his course in his back garden so as to run an accurate marathon, only to discover that his sports watch (brand redacted) had recorded him as running a full 10km short.

As you can see, [name of proprietary sports watch redacted] struggled to keep track of me and as a result underestimated the distance by quite a bit. I’m quite sure that I ran at least 26.2 miles but it was for fun and for charity so who cares what [redacted] thinks?

This stuff really matters

Beyond the frustrations and indignity of having your distance incorrectly recorded (get back out there and give us another 10km, Colin) accurate positioning really matters both for training and on race day.

The ability to run at a constant pace is a foundation of training and yet, without an accurate record of distance travelled, wearables are reduced to guesswork.

For Lars Rasmussen, one of the co-founders inventors of what became Google Maps (and now CEO of Weav.io which creates music to sync to runners’ cadence) it was about planning and performance. He ran the NYRR Staten Island half marathon last year. It was his first half marathon and he used his watch to get split time audio cues during the run.

“I wanted to break two hours and maintained an average pace of 9 mins per mile (3m/s) throughout the first 12 miles according to my app. But then, a few mins after the app told me I had hit 12.5, I noticed the 12-mile marker on the course. Suddenly realising I had more than a mile left when I thought it was less than half that totally floored me mentally. I had to walk-run a fair bit of that last mile and failed to make the two-hour mark as a result.”

There’s also the issue with where you are in the world, especially for fell-runners, where it can become an issue of personal safety. Colin Harper said:

“There are occasions when it is really important to be the right side of a hedge or ditch but the accuracy of GPS isn’t enough to indicate you are off-course by only a few metres. I have run several hundred metres on the wrong side of a hedge until the paths gradually diverged and I realised I was on the wrong one. I had no idea where I had missed the gap in the hedge, only that there was no way through where I was.”

Why are current fitness trackers so inaccurate? What’s really going on?

Running in confined spaces has shone a light on just how untrustworthy today’s wearables are in terms of reporting your location. Here’s why:

• Poor satellite reception/not enough satellites

By watching the films posted by Nochomovitz, we can see that his balcony has a limited view of the open sky. What that means is that when his sports wearable is trying to get “GPS Ready”, i.e. to get a satellite fix, it only has a small portion of the available satellites to look at. With just a few satellites to fix on, and all in the same region of the sky, his device would expect a margin of error around 60m – hence the trace thinking that he was flying superman-style over the highway across from his balcony.

• Poor sensor fusion

Take a look at the elevations reported on the Strava trace: apparently his balcony ranges from +13m to –19m in elevation. This is probably because of the poor GPS sky coverage and the barometer on his phone is getting confused by changes in temperature and pressure on the balcony – tricking it into thinking that he climbed the equivalent of 10 flights of stairs.

What can we do about it?

FocalPoint is a Cambridge-based start-up that has developed software upgrades for standard GPS chips to make them 10 times more accurate, especially in urban environments where signals get really messy.

Lockdown has created the constraints for FocalPoint’s engineers to test it in a similar way to the lockdown marathoners. Here’s a micro-version of Strava Art, running a heart-shaped trace in a 5×5m back garden. Here’s what it looks like on a major brand watch vs a Google Pixel equipped with FocalPoint D-Tail technology. Remember – this is run in a yard that is just 5m x 5m.


Trial the tech

The much higher integrity trace is created by using a machine-learning-driven human motion model to get a true picture of how runners move through space, together with precise sensor fusion to get a true reading of elevation.

Combine that with FocalPoint S-GPS technology, soon to be available in some consumer-grade smartphones, and runners can expect a fix that is ten times better than today.

FocalPoint tech is currently trialing a number of sports wearables, and is expected to be available in smartphones from 2021.

What can you do about it?

Runners interested in getting a more accurate measurement of their run can join the FocalPoint trialist community by filling out FocalPoint’s demo request form .

Coaches, analysts and experts can email for more information.

Running news

Austria begins to ease restrictions

The Austrian Government has lifted restrictions on professional athletes using training facilities.

About 600 athletes can now train in their normal venues, including the country’s seven National Olympic Training Centres.

Race news Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Chicago offers rain check to runners

Chicago Marathon have offered registered runners for their race, still scheduled to take place on 11 October, the chance to cancel and be awarded a guaranteed place in the 2021 race.

No refunds are available for 2020 cancellations. The scheme becomes operational on 5 May and no closing date has been announced.

Race news BMW Berlin-Marathon

Berlin Marathon statement

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Berlin Marathon have released a statement saying: “We have learned from the press conference of the Berlin Senate on 21 April that, according to the Containment Ordinance, all events with more than 5000 persons will be prohibited until 24 October. This applies to many of our events, but especially to the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, which cannot take place on 26–27 September 2020 as planned. We will now deal with the consequences of the official prohibition of our events, coordinate the further steps and inform you as soon as we can.”

Running news

Simulated marathon

Map

On 22 April Start Right – Marathon Dynamics will broadcast a fully simulated Marathon online.

Organisers said: “This week we all wanted to celebrate the great races in Boston and London. As leading simulators for running events we want to play our part by re-creating some of the feeling of a live event. You will be able to follow all divisions making their way from start to finish, in real-time.

“We will make one of our simulations visible, from the winners to the very last runner, with stats, maps and graphs.

“The professionalism behind it is of the same cutting-edge standard which is used for the preparations of the world’s top marathons. More than 100 races use Start Right to test the outcomes of their planning and scheduling. The wheelchair athletes will open the event at 09:30 Eastern Time (14.30 UK Time and 15.30 Central European Time).”

The simulation and additional information can be found at http://167.71.41.110/ .

“We hope that this broadcast will make marathon enthusiasts smile during these hard times,” said Start Right.

Race news B.A.A. Boston Marathon

Stay home, says BAA

Organisers of the Boston Marathon are encouraging runners, for their own safety and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, not to run the course.

“For the first time in Boston Marathon history, we are urging anyone considering running the Boston Marathon course this week to stay home, follow social distancing guidelines, and help flatten the curve. Roads will not be closed to vehicular traffic and groups of runners would divert valuable, urgent resources from the cities and towns along the course. Every year, the Boston Marathon is supported by thousands of medical personnel and first responders from across Massachusetts – we simply could not do it without them. They are there for us through the rain, heat, cold and any ailment that we may be met with from Hopkinton to Boston. Now we must support them as they work the front lines to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the statement from Boston Athletic Association (BAA).

The rescheduled Boston Marathon is due to take place on 14 September.

Running news

Brighton closes roads for exercise

On the Runner’s World UK website Ben Hobson reports: Brighton and Hove City Council have set a precedent for other UK towns and cities by closing off a major road to allow local people to get their daily exercise in safety (whilst adhering to social distancing rules)

The road to the east of the Palace Pier, Madeira Drive, will be closed to traffic from 08.00–20.00 every day starting from Monday 20 April.

Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chair of the city’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “Madeira Drive is a long, wide road right by the seafront and will create an extra safe open space for local people in the area to use for their daily walk or bike ride. It will provide a traffic-free place for the many residents in that area who do not have access to a garden. I would also ask that cyclists and pedestrians respect each other’s space and safety in this shared area.

“We are considering other locations to see if we can extend this to other roads in the city."

Manchester and Hackney councils have also been reported as considering such a move.

Running news

Running legends get face masks

Son kee chung maske 2020 crop

Over the weekend before Easter runner statues all over the USA sported a new look to show solidarity in slowing the coronavirus.

It began by accident on Saturday 4 April in Mystic, Connecticut when Amby Burfoot, Editor-at-large for Runners’ World and his wife and brother were out on a run and had the idea to place a face mask on the statue of 1957 Boston Marathon winner John Kelley in the town. Job done, Burfoot then realised that “I knew other runner statues, and I knew runners who lived near them. What if I could get all those statues to wear COVID masks?”

“Runners are among the healthiest people. We prize and appreciate our good fortune, and want to encourage the same in others. We’d like everyone to be healthy – to follow federal guidelines, both for exercise and for disease prevention. That was the thinking behind the Runner Statue-COVID-19 Mask movement.”

By the very next day the statues of Joan Samuelson in Maine, John Kelley (older and younger versions) in Newton on the Boston Marathon course, The Starter George V Brown in Hopkinton, Fred Lebow in Central Park in New York City, Bill Rogers (and another Joan Samuelson) in Davenport, Iowa, and Frank Shorter in Boulder, Colorado were all wearing the masks. In Maine and in Central Park police descended on the “masketeers” but after listening to the explanation volunteered to help.

By Monday Burfoot was seeking out volunteers to place masks on statues all over the world, targeting Harry Jerome and Roger Bannister and John Landy in Vancouver (CAN), Steve Ovett in Brighton (GBR), Paavo Nurmi in Turku (FIN), Yuko Arimori in Okayama (JPN), Spiridon Louis in Melbourne and in Sydney (AUS) and Son Ki Chung, 1936 Olympic Marathon winner, in Berlin.

Horst Milde adds: “All sports facilities were closed and the building surrounded by a high fence. I asked the caretaker if I could photograph the sculpture with the mask but he refused so I asked my graphic designer to create a mask for the Olympic champion and he did that on a photo I took some time ago.”

Race medicine

IIRM and World Athletics set up new taskforce

AIMS partner IIRM (International Institute for Race Medicine) and World Athletics have set up an “Outbreak Prevention Taskforce” which has developed the following objectives:

• Disseminate recommendations to prevent disease outbreaks in mass gatherings

• Provide race organisers and sport governing bodies with guidelines, including a risk assessment tool dedicated to determining the outbreak risk, mitigation plans, and suggestions of contingency plans

• Advise mass races, organisers, and sport governing bodies on how to plan a return to normal activities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak or similar future situations.

• Collect and analyse data to determine if COVID-19 survivors have increased risk of developing illness or injury when participating in endurance events and/or vigorous activity and amend best practices based on this analysis.

“The taskforce is made up of medical professionals from the leading endurance sports who are qualified to discuss and address health and safety in staging mass participation endurance events once the current pandemic begins to wane,” said John Cianca MD, IIRM Board Chair and Medical Director of the Houston Marathon since 1998.

“The Outbreak Prevention Taskforce will hold its first meeting during the week of 20 April with the aim of producing guidelines as soon as reasonably possible.”

Running news

Mongolian marathoners stranded in Japan

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

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Having come to Japan to train in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Mongolian national marathon team is still stranded with no way back to their home country.

The group of eight athletes and coaches arrived in Izumisano, Osaka on 9 February for a training camp.

Scheduled to return to Mongolia on 17 March the group was caught off-guard when flights between Japan and Mongolia were suspended due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. After more than two months in Japan and nearly a month after their planned return date, a month that saw the Olympics postponed another year, there are still no prospects of them going home. All they can do is keep training with the support of local residents.

Located in the southwestern part of Osaka, Izumisano’s greatest landmark is Kansai International Airport. The number of planes taking off has been increasing, even as days are lost one by one to the state of emergency declared last week. But against that background, Mongolia’s best marathoners can still be found running in a park across the bay from the airport. Every day they are there, avoiding the crowds and close contact with others amidst the cool ocean breeze.

Izumisano was named host city for the Mongolian Olympic team in July, 2017. The city government is covering the costs of the longer than planned stay and providing help with issues from accommodations to nutrition to visa extension. A city official said, “I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t look like there will be any flights either way until this crisis is over. I don’t know what the future holds for them, but we will keep doing everything we can to support them.”

“I want to see my kids.” His young family is the main thing on 29-year-old Byambajav Tseveenravdan’s mind. Tseveenravdan had already secured his place on the Olympic team. At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics he staggered in to a 129th-place finish in 2:36:14, but at February’s Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon he ran a PB of 2:09:03. With this big step forward toward his second-straight Olympics behind him he planned to return home for a short time on 17 March but his way back was cut off when the Mongolian government blocked all international flights.

The government chartered a flight to bring Mongolians home, but due to the number of people Tseveenravdan and the others were unable to get seats. Nearly a month later, they are still waiting.

Even in April, the temperatures in Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaan Baatar can drop below freezing. If the marathoners were able to return home, they would be quarantined for over two weeks, interrupting their training. “I want to go home.” “I want to see my family.” They all share those feelings, but while stranded in a foreign land they keep doing what they can as athletes. “In Japan you can still run outside,” said one of the group’s support staff. “There haven’t been any cases of infection among the Mongolian athletes, and we want to keep it that way.”

There is still a year and three months until the Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to begin. To greet that day with a spirit of joy, Mongolia’s best marathoners are staying focused on overcoming all the uncertainties of today and tomorrow.

Running news

Wanjiru denies doping

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Former London Marathon winner Daniel Wanjiru has denied any wrongdoing after being provisionally suspended by the AIU for biological passport abnormalities.

“I am clean in the sports I do. I feel I am already seen as a sinner of doping, but I am not. I am innocent. I stand for clean sports. My results of the past came through hard work only. I have never used doping. We are currently investigating the case. Knowing I have never used anything, I have faith everything will be all right,” he said in a statement.

[Reuters]

Running news

2.6 Challenge hopes to plug charity gap

In order to fill a GBP 4 billion shortfall caused by the cancellation and postponement of mass road races in Great Britain, organisers of mass participation events including the London Marathon have launched the 2.6 Challenge which will take place on 26 April to raise money for charities, the initial date of the 2019 London Marathon.

From foundation the London Marathon has been a driver of charity fundraising. In 2019 GBP 66.4 million (USD 83 million) was raised. For many years a large quota of entries have been reserved as “guaranteed” entries for charities who recruit runners willing to commit to raising a specified amount for the charity. Runners were willing to commit because the demand for places exceeded the number available several times over.

For many years “donor fatigue” has been a concern but many participants in the Marathon are first-timers – which reduces the pressure for the same people to be repeating their sponsorship year upon year. It is not clear if there will be the same willingness to donate to runners in a “2.6 Challenge” event as there has been in a nationally-televised spectacle like the London Marathon especially at a time when personal finances are under severe pressure. In the run-up to the postponed race date on 4 October both donors and runners may hesitate to join the fundraising exercise for the second time in six months.

Running into history

Despite the epidemic, the 1920 Olympics went ahead

By Bob Phillips | Track Stats

Emergency hospital during influenza epidemic ncp 1603

It’s a macabre coincidence that the lead-up to the Olympic Games of 100 years ago was fraught with a universal calamity all too similar to that which we are now facing in 2020.

Already by January of 1919 there had been 400,000 deaths reported in the USA alone from the “Spanish Influenza” epidemic which was ravaging the world, but there was no question of that country – the most successful at the Games since their revival in 1896 – withdrawing from the next celebration planned for 1920. Far from it.

In March 1919 the Central News Agency in New York reported the definitive decision of the US sports administrators: “In reply to a query from the Swedish Athletic Association, prominent officials here at the Amateur Athletic Union declared ‘America stands ready to send a representative athletic team to the next Olympic Games, regardless of the time or place which may be designated’”.

The members of the French Olympic Committee – whose opinion counted for much as founders of the modern Olympic movement – were more circumspect, but their hesitation had nothing to do with health matters. They declared, “The Olympic Games should not be held before 1921 as there would not be sufficient time for the Allied countries which have supported, and are still supporting, the burdens of the war to prepare adequately for a meeting in 1920”.

Those burdens of war had, of course, been horrendous. There had been an estimated 8.6 million military fatalities – 1.3 million of them in France and over 900,000 throughout the British Empire – and yet the toll from influenza between 1918 and 1920 would be far greater. Though there was not even public radio in those days there was still widespread newspaper reporting of the epidemic but no screaming headlines of doom-laden predictions. The Minister of Health in Great Britain, for instance, announced in July 1919 that in the six months to 31 March there had been 136,000 deaths from influenza in England and Wales, but this caused no barrage of demands from Members of Parliament for immediate Government action. To provide some sort of perspective, in his same address to the House of Commons the Minister reported that there had been 488,000 visits to venereal disease treatment centres the previous year. The MPs moved on, undisturbed, to other business.

No thought was apparently given to the idea of suspending major international sporting events attracting thousands of spectators. Already in 1919, in the euphoria of peace at last, there had been an Inter-Allied Games held from 22 June to 6 July at the Stade Pershing, in Paris, specially built for the occasion by the US Army, in which 1500 athletes from 18 nations took part. Then, when the protracted Olympic Games of 1920 opened in Antwerp as per schedule on 20 April, lasting until 12 September; there were actually more competitors than there had been in the Stockholm Olympics of 1912 (2607 as against 2547) and one more country (29).

Why was there such indifference at these mass gatherings to the health implications? Well, that’s a question which needs more expertise to answer fully than that of a mere athletics writer with an interest in history, but perhaps a salient factor is that the populace of a century ago lived with the impact of infectious diseases every day of their lives to a far greater extent than we do today, and though there were strong views expressed on the wisdom of taking part in an Olympic Games these were for other reasons entirely.

In Britain a campaign to boycott the Games on the grounds that they were getting too seriously competitive was led by no less a person than Sir Theodore Cook, who had helped organise the 1908 London Games and had written the Official Report and become an International Olympic Committee member! For those reasons, his views were naturally given due attention but were out-weighed most notably by the counter-arguments of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and an avid athletics enthusiast. Then Sir Theodore rather undermined his stance by entering the literature section of the Olympic Arts competitions in Antwerp and taking second place!

Running news

Run at home to celebrate marathon anniversary

Img 20200408 wa0024

Dr Sandeep Kate, Founder of the Satara Hill Half Marathon in India, says that he had envisaged promoting 10 April as the International Day of the Marathon in recognition of the inaugural Olympic event, but with the intervention of the coronavirus everything got pushed to the back burner.

“I was running on my treadmill today and got a sudden inspiration to do something, even if it is a bit late now… but with runners stuck at home, with their mobiles, that may actually help get more attention for the concept of a Run at Home event, on the same day, to motivate people to stay active… It’s a free event, with everyone getting an online Finisher certificate and we are planning to send actual medals to the first 500 registered runners by post too.”

Indian runners will receive their medals at home. It will be a logistical challenge to send medals to overseas runners but we will try. We may have to charge international runners for shipping charges but registration is free at: https://www.townscript.com/e/stay-home-healthy-marathon-shhm-000143

Lives remembered

Andy Galloway, 10.12.1930 – 20.03.2020

Andy galloway

Andy Galloway was a founder member of AIMS in 1982 and was Secretary of the Association for the next 14 years.

Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, he started running aged 17 and worked in race organisation for more than 30 years. He joined the local running club Hamilton Harriers and went on to become committee member, president, and life member. He was the organiser of 27 Hamilton marathon events starting from 1954. As a pioneer of mass participation in marathons in 1978 he co-founded the Hamilton Marathon Clinic alongside doctors Denis Friedlander and Harry Nicholls.

Andy set up a tour company and accompanied trips to, among other races, the Honolulu Marathon, New York Marathon, Boston Marathon and London Marathon. He got to know many international race organisers and on a trip to Honolulu in December 1981 was asked to attend a meeting of race directors who wanted to set up a world Marathon circuit. Five months later he was elected to the Board of AIMS at its founding Congress in London on 6–7 May 1982. He was appointed Secretary of the Association and remained in that role until July 1996.

After stepping down from AIMS Andy resurrected Hamilton’s iconic Round The Bridges event in 1997, which had slumped to fewer than 80 participants. That year 900 took part.

In 1995 Andy had the idea of holding the first marathon of the new millennium in Hamilton – which at 5 degrees of longitude west of the 180 meridian would be one of the first landfalls of daylight on 1 January 2000. The scheme was five years in the making but tour companies picked up on the idea. At 06.00 on New Year’s Day 2000 2200 runners from 23 countries charged off the start line in the First to the Future Millennium Marathon.

“I’ve lived here all my life and I have a certain loyalty to Hamilton,” said Galloway. “I just wanted to do something for the city.” In April 2000 he presented a NZD10,000 (EUR 5,200) cheque from funds raised by the Marathon to the Murray Halberg Trust.

Andy ran 60 marathons in his lifetime, the first at age 20 and the last on his 60th birthday in 1990. He received a Queens Service Medal for Services to Athletics in 1990.

Race news Eilat Full Desert Marathon

An event for everyone

Marathon Israel has created a virtual event, the Freedom and Life 10km, to be run at any time and in any place until 31 May 2020.

It is a venture which seeks “to symbolise the unity of runners for the times we’re all going through”. Wherever you live and however you are training your stories, videos and photos are sought to build a platform for communication. The aims is to exchange experiences and news, create solutions on how to train and stay in shape, how to stay safe, how to not feel alone, and how to maintain spirits.

Anyone can register, print out a bib number and send it with story, video or photo to world@marathonisrael.co.il

Registration is available at: https://www.4sport-live.com/results/preHome2?event=3085&lan=E

Race medicine

Looking ahead: in the wake of COVID-19

The International Institute for Race Medicine (IIRM) stands in solidarity alongside our races, our athletes and our race medics in this time of unprecedented turmoil due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognize that everyone is facing uncertain times and many are making very difficult decisions unthinkable only a few short weeks ago. The IIRM applauds race organizers for postponing or canceling upcoming races and salutes our race medics who are volunteering once again, this time on the frontline, in the race to contain COVID-19.

The IIRM pledges its support to the endurance event community. We stand ready to assist events now and going forward. We support the recommendation for social distancing as the best form of action to fight this pandemic. We are available to answer questions about implications of COVID-19 for running clubs, races or individuals seeking to stay active during this time.

In anticipation of the recovery of the endurance event industry, the IIRM is available to advise events on best practices in the wake of COVID-19 and what will most likely be a lasting impact to mass gatherings of all types until definitive prevention is developed, effective and widely available. We will work to gather and analyze data from events to develop best practices in staging events in light of the concerns this pandemic will generate in mass participation events in the future. We will work with race organizers and community agencies to develop guidelines that ensure the safety of volunteers, spectators and participants.
The IIRM is also concerned with how survivors of COVID-19 will be impacted when engaging in vigorous exercise and competition. We are committed to studying this as well and we ask for the support of race directors in this effort.

The mission of the IIRM is to promote the health and safety of athletes participating in endurance events. The IIRM invites all endurance event organizations who share this passion to join us in forming a consortium dedicated to implementing the safe and successful return of endurance events.

Respectfully submitted by:
John Cianca, MD – Houston Marathon
Pierre d’Hemecourt, MD – Boston Marathon
Courtney Kipps, MD – London Marathon
George Chiampas, MD – Chicago Marathon
Matthias Krull, MD – Berlin Marathon
Rebecca Breslow, MD – Boston Marathon
William Roberts, MD – Twin Cities Marathon
Joe Chorley, MD – Houston Marathon
Cathy Fiesler, MD – IIRM Board Member
Fumihiro Yamasawa, MD – Tokyo Marathon
May Tan, MD – Dublin Marathon
Matthew Sedgley, MD – Baltimore Marathon
Martin Schwellnus, MD – South Africa
Stuart Weiss, MD – New York Marathon
Chris Troyanos, ATCIIRM Executive Director

Race news Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon and Ottawa 10K

Ottawa goes virtual

Runners who have registered for the cancelled Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon will be able to take part in a virtual Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend this spring.

While the details of the virtual event will be announced shortly, the more than 17,000 people who were already registered to take part in one of six running distances during the popular race weekend, will receive their Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend race kit, including their medal, t-shirt and a few surprises from event partners. Registration will re-open shortly to allow those who were not previously registered to take part in the virtual event.

This virtual race will be an opportunity for runners and walkers to earn their 2020 medals and t-shirts by running or walking on their own, while respecting and promoting all public health physical distancing guidelines.

Run Ottawa will partner with Sportstats to create a shareable virtual finish line as well as a comprehensive set of results.

“Cancelling the event is a tremendous disappointment for all of us, but it is the right and only thing to do given the ongoing COVID-19 containment measures,” said Ian Fraser, Executive Director of Run Ottawa. “We believe our virtual event will be a great opportunity for runners and walkers to put their winter and spring training to good use, and we look forward to welcoming our participants to the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2021.”

Participants who were using this year’s event to fundraise are encouraged to continue to raise funds and promote their favourite causes through the new virtual race and by using the hashtag #ScotiaCharityChallenge, from now until August 31, 2020.

The organizers also announced today that all registered participants will receive a 50% discount code to be used to register for the distance of their choice at the 2021 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, which will take place May 28 and 29, 2021.

Running news

Spoilt for choice

The US publication Race Results Weekly observes that not since the Sydney Olympics in 2000 will the month of September hold more interest for distance running if the current schedule of events holds.

Already a month which routinely features great competitions like the BMW Berlin Marathon, this September will also feature a superb array of events which have been rescheduled from the spring due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Traditional September events like the Birell Grand Prix 10-K in Prague (5 Sept.); Copenhagen Half-Marathon, Great North Run and New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile (13 Sept); Blackmores Sydney Marathon, Dam tot Damloop, and Rock ’n’ Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon (20 Sept); and BMW Berlin Marathon, ING Route du Vin Half-Marathon, and Maratonina Città di Udine (27 Sept) are all scheduled for their traditional weekends.

This year some of the world’s best spring road races will join these traditional September events creating an exceptionally crowded calendar. For example Great Manchester Run, Lisbon Half Marathon, Prague Half Marathon, Boston Marathon, Carlsbad 5000 and many more. In addition to these events, another 35 prominent spring road races have been rescheduled for October and November, including the Virgin Money London Marathon (4 Oct), Debno Marathon (11 Oct), World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships (17 Oct), Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris (18 Oct), and NN Marathon Rotterdam (25 Oct).

Running news

Running in your own space

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As more and more races get cancelled or postponed in the coming weeks hundreds of thousands of runners who had been training for months in order to take part in them are suddenly left wondering what they can do to with their hard-won fitness.

The worldwide advice to ‘self-isolate’ has meant the closure of facilities such as gyms, athletics tracks and the cessation of organised activity by running clubs and training groups. While elite runners have lamented the difficulty of training outside of the groups the problems for other athletic disciplines – like for hammer throwers or pole vaulters – are much more daunting.

Mass runners are showing more resilience in the face of such adversity, continuing to run solo or in pairs while observing official guidelines on ‘self-isolation’. It may involve switching from city streets to parkland or open country but observing the recommended 2m “bubble” of personal space while on the run can be made relatively straightforward.

More difficult may be the motivation to do so without a target in mind which usually involves performance in a race. In many cases this is compounded by the performance in the race being linked to a parallel target of raising funds for chosen charities.

The solution that runners and race organisers have come up with is to offer a parallel location in which to enact the race. Just as parallel lines do not intersect, any runner who chooses to participate in a particular event may never catch sight of any other as there are an infinite number of possible locations.

An early instance of this ‘remote running’ was when US soldiers ran the Marine Corps Marathon by doing laps of their base in Afghanistan. They did it at a synchronised time but since then acceptable practice has been broadened. Now it is normal practice that any officially-recorded distance run, in any locale, can either substitute for that distance in the selected event or just count towards the total distance required.

Distance-recording apps – like those offered by Garmin or Strava – allow the distances run to be deemed official (even though this is not an acceptable practice for measuring distance running courses). The technology generates an inclusiveness that no organised event in a specific physical location could hope to match. This way no race need ever be over-subscribed – every one can be accommodated.

Like much else in the new coronavirus reality it’s not quite the same as it was. There is no crowd to encourage you when you begin to flag; no one to welcome you after you cross the finish line. But the afterglow of the achievement is still there – and the funds pledged from sponsorship.

Running news

Balcony marathon

The British national newspaper website The Guardian reported on 21 March that in a bid to keep fit Elisha Nochomovitz had run a marathon distance on the 7m-long balcony of his flat.

Confined at home in Toulouse, France, by the coronavirus he would have had to run more than 6000 lengths of his balcony and executed 6000+ 180-degree turns.

The feat called upon all his physical and mental strength to keep up the metronomic rhythm for 6 hours and 48 minutes. He did it in support of medical personnel and to demonstrate that even severe restrictions on movement need not prevent people keeping fit. “It was [also] about a crazy challenge and bringing a bit of humour to de-dramatise the confinement situation,” he said. During the run he became nauseous and was worried that his neighbours would be annoyed by the sound of his footsteps.

As temperatures have risen more runners are out on the streets in France causing official concern that the message to stay confined at home will lose its impact.

Nochomovitz admits that he lost count of the laps but relied instead on his pedometer to register the distance and his girlfriend to give him drinks and chocolate. Onlookers gazed in confusion but, he says, “the neighbours were very understanding”.

Date changes Rio de Janeiro City Marathon

Race date for Rio de Janeiro City Marathon (BRA) changed

The Rio de Janeiro City Marathon (BRA) will take place on Mon 12 October 2020, not Sun 14 June 2020 as previously published.

Date changes KLM Aruba Marathon (& 21.1K, 10K, 5K)

Race date for KLM Aruba Marathon (& 21.1K, 10K, 5K) (ARU) changed

The KLM Aruba Marathon (& 21.1K, 10K, 5K) (ARU) will take place on Sun 18 October 2020, not Sun 7 June 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Marathon Life Lima42k

Race date for Marathon Life Lima42k (PER) changed

The Marathon Life Lima42k (PER) will take place on Sun 27 September 2020, not Sun 17 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes StraLugano

Race date for StraLugano (SUI) changed

The StraLugano (SUI) will be Sat 29 August 2020—Sun 30 August 2020, not Sat 16 May 2020—Sun 17 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Leiden Marathon

Race date for Leiden Marathon (NED) changed

The Leiden Marathon (NED) will take place on Sun 22 November 2020, not Sun 10 May 2020 as previously published.

AIMS news

Message from the President of AIMS

Pacoborao

Dear runners, dear race organisers, dear sponsors and dear friends of AIMS,

Because of the coronavirus pandemic many AIMS events have been – and will yet be – either cancelled or postponed from their previously planned dates. With ever-growing feelings of sadness and responsibility we are having to face up to increasing levels of alarm arising from different sources but which all impact upon us.

The coronavirus started in Asia then moved to Europe and quickly involved the whole world with a battle that we never imagined could affect us so deeply – and the depths of the crisis have yet to be discovered.

That said, on behalf of our Association allow me to offer some ideas from the running community towards what I believe could infuse a positive approach for organisers, sponsors, and runners in order to strengthen our physical and mental focus. This is not just to help ourselves but to raise the motivation of our teams and our family to face up to this daunting challenge.

Firstly, as in any competition, we must fully accept and comply with the rules: in this case those issued by the responsible authorities. This is a collective struggle requiring collective answers; our sporting community must be exemplary.

Then we must work to promote, within our community, the sporting values of responsibility and solidarity in order to support those who cannot, under the present demanding conditions, fulfil their basic activities.

Finally: we must keep training to maintain ourselves in the best possible condition. By doing so we help not only ourselves but all the people who surround us. Believe me: they will be grateful.

We can do it for a very basic reason: we belong to the RUNNING community.

Adelante…

Paco Borao
President of AIMS

Date changes Wizz Air Skopje Marathon

Race date for Wizz Air Skopje Marathon (MKD) changed

The Wizz Air Skopje Marathon (MKD) will take place on Sun 4 October 2020, not Sun 10 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Peru Runners – Lima Half Marathon & 10k

Race date for Peru Runners – Lima Half Marathon & 10k (PER) changed

The Peru Runners – Lima Half Marathon & 10k (PER) will take place on Sun 30 August 2020, not Sun 23 August 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Santiago Marathon

Race date for Santiago Marathon (CHI) changed

The Santiago Marathon (CHI) will take place on Sun 6 September 2020, not Sun 17 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Kazan Marathon

Race date for Kazan Marathon (RUS) changed

The Kazan Marathon (RUS) will take place on Sun 16 August 2020, not Sun 3 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Kaunas Marathon

Race date for Kaunas Marathon (LTU) changed

The Kaunas Marathon (LTU) will take place on Sun 7 June 2020, not Sun 26 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Maraton Cartago

Race date for Maraton Cartago (CRC) changed

The Maraton Cartago (CRC) will take place on Sun 31 May 2020, not Sun 5 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon

Race date for Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon (GBR) changed

The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon (GBR) will take place on Sun 20 September 2020, not Sun 3 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Cracovia Marathon

Race date for Cracovia Marathon (POL) changed

The Cracovia Marathon (POL) will take place on Sun 8 November 2020, not Sun 26 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Kigali International Peace Marathon

Race date for Kigali International Peace Marathon (RWA) changed

The Kigali International Peace Marathon (RWA) will take place on Sun 21 June 2020, not Sun 17 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Cork City Marathon

Race date for Cork City Marathon (IRL) changed

The Cork City Marathon (IRL) will take place on Sun 6 September 2020, not Sun 31 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Du Motion-Runners’ Days Dubrovnik (Dubrovnik Half Marathon)

Race date for Du Motion-Runners’ Days Dubrovnik (Dubrovnik Half Marathon) (CRO) changed

The Du Motion-Runners’ Days Dubrovnik (Dubrovnik Half Marathon) (CRO) will be Sat 26 September 2020—Sun 27 September 2020, not Sat 25 April 2020—Sun 26 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Vodafone İstanbul Half Marathon

Race date for Vodafone İstanbul Half Marathon (TUR) changed

The Vodafone İstanbul Half Marathon (TUR) will take place on Sun 20 September 2020, not Sun 5 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes The Canberra Times Marathon Festival

Race date for The Canberra Times Marathon Festival (AUS) changed

The The Canberra Times Marathon Festival (AUS) will take place on Sun 23 August 2020, not Sat 4 April 2020 as previously published.

Lives remembered

Dana Zátopková

4 family golds 1952

Dana Zátopková, gold medal winner in the javelin at the 1952 Olympics and former world record holder, died on 13 March aged 97.

She survived her husband, multiple gold medallist and word record holder in the 5000m and 10000m and Olympic Marathon champion in 1952 Emil Zátopek, by almost 20 years. Both were born on the same day – 19 September 1922 – and arguably also reached the height of their athletic achievement on the same day, 24 July 1952.

Zátopek had become Olympic 10,000m champion four days earlier and was contesting the 5000m as Zátopková was preparing for the Javelin final in which two Soviet throwers were heavily favoured. She heard the roar of the crowd acclaiming her husband’s victory as they passed each other on the infield and Zátopková took his medal in her bag “for good luck”. Luck or not Zátopková recorded an Olympic record 50.47m with her first throw, a distance no one else could match, and became the first Czech woman to win Olympic gold in any athletic event.

She went on to place 4th in the 1956 Olympics, set a world record of 55.73m in 1958 and to win a silver medal in the 1960 Olympics before retiring in 1962. Both Zátopeks suffered censure and separation after the “Prague Spring” of 1968. Although the Velvet Revolution of 1989 restored them to the national pantheon Dana spent the next 10 years caring for her husband whose health was failing. She continued to coach Javelin and followed the sport closely and also set up a half marathon event in her husband’s memory.

Date changes Novi Sad Half Marathon

Race date for Novi Sad Half Marathon (SRB) changed

The Novi Sad Half Marathon (SRB) will be Sat 30 May 2020—Sun 31 May 2020, not Sun 22 March 2020—Sun 22 March 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Belgrade Marathon

Race date for Belgrade Marathon (SRB) changed

The Belgrade Marathon (SRB) will take place on Sun 18 October 2020, not Sun 26 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Maratonina Città di Udine

Race date for Maratonina Città di Udine (ITA) changed

The Maratonina Città di Udine (ITA) will take place on Sun 27 September 2020, not Sun 4 October 2020 as previously published.

Date changes B.A.A. Boston Marathon

Race date for B.A.A. Boston Marathon (USA) changed

The B.A.A. Boston Marathon (USA) will take place on Mon 14 September 2020, not Mon 20 April 2020 as previously published.

AIMS news

Defar presented with AIMS Inspirational Woman Award

Meseret defar

Today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), presented Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) with the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award.

Meseret is an athlete who has won gold in the 5,000m events at both the 2004 (Athens) and 2012 (London) Olympics. She also won the 5,000m events at the World Championships in 2007 (Osaka) and 2013 (Moscow). She has held the world record in the 5,000m, setting the record of 14:24.53 in New York City in 2006 then setting a new record of 14:16.63 in Oslo in 2007.

Meseret was presented her award, a laurel wreath from the home of the marathon; Athens, Greece by H.E Semegne Wube Haile, State Minister for Women, Children and Youth of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in advance of the women’s race in Ethiopia called ‘Women First 5k’, a race that Meseret supports as Ambassador.

The giving of a laurel wreath trophy is highly symbolic and dates back to the ancient Olympic Games and before, to the quadrennial Pythian Games where laurel wreaths were given to victors. Legend has it that the Pythian Games were held in honour of the Greek God Apollo who had slain a great serpent Python.

The AIMS Inspirational Woman Award is presented by the AIMS Women’s Commission, a world women’s running movement aiming to improve the participation of women in distance running throughout the world while empowering women through the sport of running.

The first recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award was Namibia’s Commonwealth Games Marathon gold medallist Helalia Johannes who received the award after winning the 2019 Nagoya Women’s Marathon, the world’s largest women’s marathon: (20,000 women: recognised by Guinness World Records).

Meseret Defar comments: “I am honoured to be presented with the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award. I would like to thank AIMS, their members and the AIMS Women’s Commission for recognising me with this award. It is especially appropriate to receive this award at the’ Women First 5k’ here in Ethiopia, which is this year celebrating its 17th year. Of course, it is good to win races and break records but if my profile in running helps in any way to inspire other women to succeed in whatever area of life and to improve their health and wellbeing through the wonderful sport of running, then that would mean the world to me.”

The Leader of the AIMS Women’s Commission and AIMS Vice President, Martha Morales, comments: “Meseret has been a symbol of success as a woman in athletics for many years. She is a role model not just for women in Africa, but around the world. She is a deserving recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award.”

AIMS President Paco Borao comments: “On behalf of AIMS Members and sponsors around the world I would like to congratulate Meseret on becoming the second recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award. We hope this award, and the work of the AIMS Women’s Commission can inspire women around the world to participate in running, the world’s original and most affordable sport.”

Date changes EDP Rock ’n’ Roll Madrid Maratón & 1/2

Race date for EDP Rock ’n’ Roll Madrid Maratón & 1/2 (ESP) changed

The EDP Rock ’n’ Roll Madrid Maratón & 1/2 (ESP) will take place on Sun 15 November 2020, not Sun 26 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Jerusalem Marathon, Half & 10k

Race date for Jerusalem Marathon, Half & 10k (ISR) changed

The Jerusalem Marathon, Half & 10k (ISR) will take place on Fri 6 November 2020, not Fri 20 March 2020 as previously published.

Date changes United Airlines Guam Marathon

Race date for United Airlines Guam Marathon (GUM) changed

The United Airlines Guam Marathon (GUM) will take place on Sun 13 September 2020, not Sun 5 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Movistar Medio Maratón de Madrid

Movistar Medio Maratón de Madrid rescheduled

The Movistar Medio Maratón de Madrid (ESP), originally planned for Sun 29 March 2020 but postponed due to coronavirus, has been rescheduled and will now take place on Sun 4 October 2020.

Date changes OPAP Limassol Marathon GSO

OPAP Limassol Marathon GSO (CYP) postponed

The OPAP Limassol Marathon GSO (CYP) has been postponed and will be held on Sat 21 November 2020—Sun 22 November 2020, not Sun 22 March 2020 as previously published.

Date changes ČSOB Bratislava Marathon

ČSOB Bratislava Marathon (SVK) rescheduled

The ČSOB Bratislava Marathon (SVK), initially due to take place on Sun 5 April but cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus, has been rescheduled for Sun 6 September 2020.

This article was revised after first publication.

Date changes EDP Lisbon Half Marathon

Race date for EDP Lisbon Half Marathon (POR) changed

The EDP Lisbon Half Marathon (POR) will be held on Sat 5 September 2020—Sun 6 September 2020, not Sun 22 March 2020 as previously published.

The postponement of the races was determined by a case of force majeure (the risk of spread of COVID-19) and results from a decision of the official health authorities.

Race news Nagoya Women’s Marathon

Nagoya Women’s Marathon finds a way

With marathons being cancelled all over the world and Japan being one of the countries hardest hit during the build-up to the Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2020, the organisers took some innovative measures to cope with the situation.

As with the Tokyo Marathon held a week earlier Nagoya had to downsize to a race with only 114 elite athletes. Race director Tetsuya Okamura said “It was a very small race compared to other years, but I consider us lucky and blessed just to be able to hold a race under the current circumstances.”

“The winner of this year was Mao Ichiyama – we had not seen a Japanese winner in the last seven years and it was a national record in the single gender women’s marathon. Despite the rain and cold temperatures, Ichiyama made a spectacular record and secured the last spot in the women’s marathon team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

For general participants who missed out on the event, an online marathon is being offered as a replacement since the afternoon of race day. We are offering several apps and options for runners, including Joyrun, who was a speaker at the AIMS Symposium last year. We formed a partnership with them as our official online race app. It started with interesting fates; one of them was that three members of Joyrun team were registered to our marathon this year.

“Even at this moment, all around the world, women runners are setting their goals and running toward them. We will, send our finisher T-shirt and the Tiffany pendant to all finishers. Considering the varying environments around the world because of the virus, we set the event period to last until 31 May. We will mail the finisher items to our runners from June.

“So our 2020 race is still continuing. We see many runners getting connected online and running in the city. Many women runners encourage each other and run at their locations across the country. I hear that in China participants who were registered for the Nagoya Marathon are doing the same. I feel the circle of women’s running is spreading around the world.

“We are planning on allowing all women runners in the world to take part in this movement and run starting from the end of this month. I would like runners and women to feel strong through sports, especially now in this time of crisis.”

Result

marathon
Women
1 Mao ICHIYAMA JPN 2:20:29
2 Yuka ANDO JPN 2:22:41
3 Purity Cherotich RIONORIPO KEN 2:22:56
4 Hirut Tibebu DAMTE ETH 2:23:17
5 Sayaka SATO JPN 2:23:27

Date changes International Marathon Alexander the Great

Race date for International Marathon Alexander the Great (GRE) changed

The 2021 International Marathon Alexander the Great (GRE) will be held from Sat 17 April 2021—Sun 18 April 2021, not Sun 11 April 2021 as previously published.

AIMS news

Marathon organisers face up to coronavirus threat

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In the light of several race cancellations across the world due to the spread of coronavirus, other race organisers have reassured runners that they will go ahead with their events if at all possible.

RunCzech, organisers of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon due to take place on 3 May, said: “As of 5 March 2020 RunCzech is preparing the upcoming events as planned without any significant restrictions, since we have not received any signals to the contrary from the local authorities. The Czech Government’s current advice is that mass events should still go ahead. We are working hard to prepare a safe event involved while we keep monitoring the situation closely. The safety and health of participants, volunteers and the public are important for us. We are ready to act on any future advice by the Government of the Czech Republic, World Health Organization (WHO) and other public bodies.”

RunCzech has decided to implement additional preventive actions aiming to minimize possible risks for the participants, even though WHO stated that the overall risk is currently low.

  • Special stations with surgical disinfectant in the technical area, start/finish area, refreshment points and Running Expo
  • Volunteers will be wearing disposable gloves where appropriate, especially at refreshment points
  • Water sprinklers will replace sponges and sponge baths on the refreshment points
  • Range of products on the refreshment points will be updated: Mattoni water, Gatorade, bananas, packaged sugar, to avoid contact – no oranges, packaged sugar and saline solution in cups.

Other races have also announced their intent to go ahead unless the situation changes dramatically.

The Almaty Marathon (KAZ) due to be held on April 19, announced its own intentions. “Currently, we do not plan to cancel the event. We continue to prepare for the competition. Approximately 95% of our participants are citizens of Kazakhstan, including foreign professionals working in our country,” said race director Saltanat Kazybayeva.

In Austria, organisers of the Vienna City Marathon, also scheduled for 19 April, raised the slogan “We want to run” and stated categorically “The Vienna City Marathon will certainly take place unless the relevant authorities decide otherwise.”

“We are responsibly following the recommendations of the Austrian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization on the holding of major events,” said Wolfgang Konrad, race director of the VCM. There are currently no official measures in Austria to restrict events, the race said.

UPDATE: Since the first publication of this article the Almaty and Vienna marathons have been obliged to cancel their events.

Date changes Zurich Marató de Barcelona

Race date for Zurich Marató de Barcelona (ESP) changed

The Zurich Marató de Barcelona (ESP) will take place on Sun 25 October 2020, not Sun 15 March 2020 as previously published.

AIMS news

Inspirational Woman Award for Meseret Defar

The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) is delighted to mark the first anniversary of the ‘AIMS Women’s Commission’ on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020 by announcing Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) as the recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award for 2020.

Meserat is a two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 5,000m (2004 & 2012) as well as being a two-time World Champion (2007 & 2013). Meseret will receive her award at the pre-race press conference on Friday 13 March, in advance of a race that is proud to have Meseret as Ambassador, the ‘Women First’ 5km, a race in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).

The first recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award was Namibia’s Commonwealth Games Marathon gold medallist Helalia Johannes who received the award after winning the 2019 Nagoya Women’s Marathon, the world’s largest women’s marathon: (20,000 women: recognised by Guinness World Records).

The Commission was launched in 2019 by AIMS Vice President Martha Morales (photo) and President Paco Borao (photo) and aims to develop the participation of women in distance running throughout the world, while empowering women through the sport of running.

To mark the first anniversary, the AIMS Women’s Commission is delighted to announce a special new section of the AIMS website dedicated to the AIMS Women’s Commission under the slogan ‘All Women Can Run’ which will host all the latest developments and announcements from the AIMS Women’s Commission. This new section of the AIMS website will launch on International Women’s Day (8 March 2020) and can be found at allwomencanrun.org .

AIMS Vice President Martha Morales comments: “It has been a very exciting first year of the AIMS Women’s Commission. We are very pleased to mark International Women’s Day by announcing our new website and most importantly, the deserving recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award for 2020. The inspirational double gold medal winning Meseret Defar who is a great symbol of the success of women in athletics. A role model, not just for women in Africa, but around the world.”

AIMS President Paco Borao comments: “AIMS is proud to have founded this movement which, under the direction of Martha Morales has brought together a very impressive group of leaders of women in sport. This commission is working to ensure the share of voice for women in sport is growing larger and will echo around the world, encouraging all women to run, developing their health and well-being.”

The AIMS Women’s Commission has been created in support of goal 5 in the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”

AIMS news

AIMS Inspirational Woman Award on International Women’s Day

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The AIMS Women’s Commission has launched a new website www.allwomencanrun.org .

The purpose of the new site is to promote running among women and encourage them to participate in distance running events.

Date changes Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris

Race date for Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris (FRA) changed

The Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris (FRA) will take place on Sun 18 October 2020, not Sun 5 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes 17a Treviso Marathon

Race date for 17a Treviso Marathon (ITA) changed

The 17a Treviso Marathon (ITA) will take place on Sun 20 September 2020, not Sun 29 March 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon

Race date for Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon (UKR) changed

The Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon (UKR) will take place on Sun 1 November 2020, not Sat 24 October 2020 as previously published.

AIMS news

23rd AIMS Congress 2020

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Dear AIMS members, colleagues and friends of Running,

The 23rd World Congress of AIMS, due to be hosted by the Great Batumi Night Race in Georgia from 23–26 April 2020, has been cancelled.

On 4 March a letter was sent to all members, speakers and partners of AIMS informing them of the cancellation of the Congress due to the spread of the “COVID-19 – coronavirus” epidemic and the increasing uncertainty over how circumstances will change in the coming weeks. The letter can be read in full here.

Date changes Semi Marathon International de la Ville de Sfax

Race date for Semi Marathon International de la Ville de Sfax (TUN) changed

The Semi Marathon International de la Ville de Sfax (TUN) will take place on Sun 25 October 2020, not Sun 5 April 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Hengshui Lake International Marathon

Race date for Hengshui Lake International Marathon (CHN) changed

The Hengshui Lake International Marathon (CHN) will take place on Sun 20 September 2020, not Tue 22 September 2020 as previously published.

Race news Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon

Mangyongdae Prize Marathon cancelled

The Pyongyang Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon, which was scheduled for April, has been cancelled by organisers due to the threat of the coronavirus, Reuters reports.

Date changes Banja Luka Half Marathon

Race date for Banja Luka Half Marathon (BIH) changed

The Banja Luka Half Marathon (BIH) will take place on Sun 11 October 2020, not Sun 17 May 2020 as previously published.

Race news The Ras al Khaimah Half Marathon

Yeshaneh smashes women’s half marathon record

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In a surprise result Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh Birhane set a new women’s world record of 1:04:31 at the Ras al Khaimah Half Marathon (UAE) on 21 February. She finished 100m ahead of Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei (1:04:49) who was also inside the old record.

The previous record of 1:04:51 was set by Joyciline Jepkosgei in Valencia in October 2017. Last September Kosgei recorded 1:04:28 in the Great North Run in Great Britain but the course did not conform to world record criteria (descent of > 1m/km, straight-line separation of start & finish >50% of race distance).

Pre-race favourite Kosgei was set a pace of 3:03/km (projecting a finish time of 1:04:21) by compatriot Geoffrey Pyego. She kept close to the schedule, passing 5km in 15:07, 10km in 30:18 and 15km in 45:41. Coming from just behind her Yeshaneh forged her lead by covering 15–20km 18 seconds faster than Kosgei (15:31 to 15:49). Both ran the last 1097.5m in the same time.

Yeshaneh said “I did not imagine this result, improving my best by more than a minute.”

Race news Tokyo Marathon

Coronavirus caution stops Tokyo mass run

The mass participation race at the Tokyo marathon, which was due to have 38,000 people taking part, has become the latest sporting casualty of the coronavirus, the British national newspaper The Guardian reported on 17 February.

Organisers confirmed that the event on 1 March will now be limited to the elite field of 176 athletes and 30 wheelchair athletes.

“We have been preparing for the Tokyo marathon 2020 while implementing preventive safety measures, however, now that a case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been confirmed within Tokyo, we cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated,” they added.

Organisers said that all registered runners would be allowed to defer their entry until next year but would would have to pay again and would not get their money back from this year’s race. One British couple who had entered the race told the Guardian that “We understand the decision but from a personal and financial perspective it is hard to take just 13 days before the race. We don’t know whether the GBP 3000 (USD 4000) we have paid for flights and hotels will be refunded if we decide to run the race next year.”

Last week organisers had announced plans to distribute surgical masks to runners and volunteers as preventive safety measures. They also told the 1800 runners registered from China that they could defer their entry until 2021 without any penalty. However, the continuing spread of the virus meant they had little choice but to take the drastic step of limiting the race to just over 200 elite participants.

Race news Haspa Marathon Hamburg

Abate and Kuma return to Hamburg

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Defending champions Tadu Abate and Dibabe Kuma will return to the Haspa Marathon Hamburg, race organisers have announced.

Fellow Ethiopians Ayele Abshero, who was runner-up last year, and Meseret Belete will be among their rivals on 19 April.

“It is always a good sign when athletes like to come back to challenge and to possibly produce thrilling races once again. We are proud that both winners from 2019 will return,” said chief organiser Frank Thaleiser. With regard to the entry figures he said: “Compared to the same time last year we have 400 more entries for the marathon, which shows the trust the runners have in our event.”

At the age of 22 Tadu Abate is still a youngster in marathon running. After his biggest career victory in Hamburg a year ago, when he clocked 2:08:25 in wet and cold conditions, the Ethiopian improved his personal best to 2:06:13 last autumn in Amsterdam. On 19 April he will renew his rivalry with Ayele Abshero. The two Ethiopians produced a thrilling finish last year, when Abate was just one second ahead of Abshero. Back in 2018 Abate had left his experienced rival behind him as well, when the pair finished second and third in Hamburg behind fellow-Ethiopian Solomon Deksisa. 29 year-old Abshero, who features a world-class personal best of 2:04:23, will be eager to be quicker than his younger rival this time.

The women’s field will be headed by defending champion Dibabe Kuma. The 23 year-old Ethiopian caused a surprise last year, when she produced a great solo run in the poor conditions, winning in 2:24:42. “This is a very good course,” said Kuma afterwards, indicating that in more suitable weather she could have improved her personal best of 2:23:34. Fellow Ethiopian Meseret Belete will be one of her main challengers on 19 April. Just 20 years old, Belete was sixth in the World Half Marathon Championships in 2018 and holds a marathon PB of 2:24:54.

Breaking the Olympic qualifying times on Hamburg’s fast course will be the major goal for the German elite runners. Philipp Pflieger, who has a personal record of 2:12:50, intends to go for the 2:11:30 Olympic standard. He showed fine form just two days ago when he improved his PB in the half marathon to 62:50 in Barcelona.

Two other Germans who recorded personal bests in the Spanish half marathon two days ago also have Olympic ambitions: Twin sisters Deborah and Rabea Schöneborn will run a marathon together for the first time. While Deborah won the Cologne Marathon last autumn – though without proper competition – in 2:31:18 in her debut, Rabea will run her debut in Hamburg. Preparing for the marathon it looks that the 25-year-old twins are currently at the same level. Deborah clocked a PB of 71:37 in Barcelona on Sunday while Rabea crossed the line immediately behind her in ninth place with 71:40, a PB as well. It seems that both can achieve the Olympic qualifying time of 2:29:30 in Hamburg.

Race news The Great Wall Marathon

Great Wall Marathon cancelled

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The Great Wall Marathon, due to be held on 16 May, has been cancelled for 2020 due to the coronavirus.

Organisers have made an early decision to cancel for the safety of runners, spectators and staff, and to limit the inconvenience to runners who travel from all corners of the world to this event.

The next Great Wall Marathon will be held on 15 May 2021.

Race news Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP Marathon

Valencia Marathon sells out ten months ahead of event

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The Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP has sold all 30,000 race bibs for the next edition of the race, which will be held on the 6th of December 2020.

Thus the ceiling on runner numbers has been reached 10 months before the event and within just three months of opening entries for the race.

Like last year, the organisers will open a waiting list in a few days time so that those without entries can take up places, if and when these become available as entered runners drop out for whatever reason.

To mark its 40th anniversary, the Valencia Marathon raised the number of bibs available to 30,000 (5,000 more than in 2019), split into three equal tranches priced at EUR 60, EUR 80, and EUR 100 respectively. The first tranche of 10,000 bibs was put on sale on the day following the previous race. The bibs ran out in under 48 hours. The second tranche ran out just nine days later.

Last year, race bibs ran out almost six months before the race date. This is why the organisers – SD Correcaminos running club and Valencia City Council – decided to ditch the 10K Valencia Trinidad Alfonso so that they could offer more places for the Marathon. For the third year on the trot, race bibs have run out for the race which the Spanish athletics federation RFEA ranks as Spain’s best marathon by far. The race is also the first one to obtain World Athletics’ Platinum Label.

Those who have missed out on a race bib so far have one last chance to take part in this special, 40th anniversary of the Valencia Marathon. This chance takes the form of the hundred Platinum Bibs put on sale to celebrate the award of the World Athletics Platinum Label. This is a new way of taking part in the trial and includes a special charity quota for Save The Children — the Official Charity for 2020 — and many extras such as access to the VIP area, a post-race thermal poncho, participation in the Breakfast Run and so on.

The 20,000 bibs for the Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP (which will be held on the 25th of October 2020) are selling like hot cakes. The first tranche of 10,000 was sold out in December. Right now, there are still some 1,500 bibs available before we hang up the ‘sold out’ sign.

The Valencia Half Marathon is now part of the new SuperHalfs circuit, which brings together the best international trials over this distance. The launch of the SuperHalfs this year coincides with Valencia Ciudad del Running’s holding of the 30th edition on the 25th of October 2020.

Date changes Taichung International Marathon

Race date for Taichung International Marathon (TPE) changed

The Taichung International Marathon (TPE) will take place on Sun 1 November 2020, not Sun 23 February 2020 as previously published.

Race news Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon and Ottawa 10K

Ottawa 10K shifts focus to Canadian athletes

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Organizers of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend announced today they will be significantly increasing the overall prize purse for Canadian athletes in the Ottawa 10K event to CAD 35,000 (EUR 24,000) – the largest prize for any of Canada’s championship events this year.

As it has done since 2016, the 2020 Ottawa 10k will again host the Canadian 10K Championships with CAD 6,000 going to the top male and female Canadians in the 10K.

The Ottawa 10K will also maintain its unique gender challenge whereby the women are given a head start, and whoever crosses the finish line first (man or woman) wins an extra CAD 2,000.

The event will also host the Canuck 10K Team Competition, where a Canadian elite runner will have the chance to pick 3 compatriots to form a co-ed team of four. The fastest team wins CAD 6,000 to be split evenly amongst the team, as well as an additional CAD 1,000 that will go towards the Scotiabank Charity Challenge participating charity of their choice.

Organizers also announced today they have elected not to renew their World Athletics (formerly IAAF) gold certification for the Ottawa 10K event, choosing to focus their resources on participant experience, the Canadian 10K Championships and the development of Canadian athletes. The organizers of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend have, however, renewed the gold certification for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon.

Dylan Wykes, who won the men’s 10K in 29:56 last year, joins the organising team as its new Elite Athlete Coordinator, replacing Manny Rodrigues, who had been in this volunteer role for the past 20 years. Wykes said: “The road racing scene in Canada is on fire right now with records being set in all distances. I’m honoured and excited by the opportunity to work with Ian and the entire Run Ottawa team as the Elite Athlete Coordinator. I know I have big shoes to fill, as Manny has done an incredible job over the past 20 years building the elite athlete program. I’m looking forward to contributing to the Ottawa running community in a new way that doesn’t involve making my own two feet move fast”.

Race news Logicom Cyprus Marathon

Time is short to register for Cyprus Marathon

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Organisers of the Logicom Cyprus Marathon have warned runners not to miss out on registering for this year’s race.

Registrations for the 5km Fun Run – the race with the biggest capacity – are almost sold-out. The 5km Fun Run is the biggest sports event in Pafos and will host teams from Pafos-based companies, hotels and gyms, among others.

Additionally, the places for the Marathon, Half-Marathon and the 10km Road Race are likely to run out very soon.

The 22nd edition will take place on Sunday, 15th March 2020 in Pafos, with the event’s central location being the historical Pafos Medieval Castle square. More than 4,000 runners from some 65 countries will come together to celebrate this human challenge.

The first round of registrations for the 22nd expired on 31st January 2020. However, a limited number of places are still available and guaranteed registrations have been extended until the 16th February 2020.

Date changes Al Mouj Muscat Marathon

Race date for Al Mouj Muscat Marathon (OMA) changed

The Al Mouj Muscat Marathon (OMA) will be Fri 21 February 2020—Sat 22 February 2020, not Fri 17 January 2020—Sat 18 January 2020 as previously published.

Race news Hokkaido Marathon

Hokkaido Marathon cancelled

SAPPORO (JPN): The annual Hokkaido Marathon in Sapporo will not take place in 2020 due to a clash with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

A statement on the race website said: “The Hokkaido Marathon usually takes place on the last Sunday of August. This year, however, the Committee has decided to cancel the event for the following two reasons: 1) a shortage of staff members to organise the marathon because it coincides with the Tokyo Paralympic Games and 2) inability to restore Odori Park (a venue for the Hokkaido Marathon) to its original state in time after it is used to host facilities for the Tokyo Olympic marathon and race walk events, scheduled in Sapporo from August 6 to 9.”

(EME News)

Date changes Airtel Hyderabad Marathon

Race date for Airtel Hyderabad Marathon (IND) changed

The Airtel Hyderabad Marathon (IND) will take place on Sun 2 August 2020, not Sun 30 August 2020 as previously published.

Running news

Ethiopians dominate so far in 2020

In the first month of 2020 Ethiopian runners have recorded 80% of men’s sub-2:10 times and 73% of women’s sub-2:28 times.

If Ethiopian-born runners now accredited to represent Bahrain are included, then these figures rise to 84% and 76% respectively. (see tables below).

Such a dominant start to the year is unlikely to be sustained for several reasons but perhaps the most significant (and obvious) of these is the location of the races.

Dubai was the scene of 16 of the men’s and five of the women’s performances and is a traditional Ethiopian home-from-home (a four-hour flight away). Ethiopians also had strong representation in Mumbai and the women’s race in Osaka – which hosted 11 of the women’s performances listed and accounts for the Japanese women ranking above the Kenyans. Ethiopian women also captured the top eight places in Xiamen and three of the top four in Houston.

Men
(37 × sub-2:10)
Women
(33 × sub-2:28)
Ethiopia 29 24
Japan 0 4
Kenya 4 2
Bahrain* 2 1
Australia 0 1
Canada 0 1
Morocco 1 0
Uganda 1 0

NOTE: * All Bahrain runners were Ethiopian-born

Running news

Asian indoor champs cancelled

The Asian Athletics Association (AAA) had called off the 9th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships scheduled from Feb 12–13 at Hanzhou, China due to the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.

AAA Council Member, Karim Ibrahim said the Asian athletics governing body made the decision through an emergency telephone conference on Sunday evening following the global outbreak of the virus which originated from Wuhan in the Chinese mainland.

World Athletics is monitoring the situation in regard to World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China. The National Stadium in Beijing is among several public buildings to have been closed by Chinese authorities.

Several road races in China are cancelled (Hong-Kong Feb 9, Wuxi marathon March 22).

Date changes Tashkent International Half Marathon

Race date for Tashkent International Half Marathon (UZB) changed

The Tashkent International Half Marathon (UZB) will take place on Sun 22 March 2020, not Fri 22 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Kigali International Peace Marathon

Race date for Kigali International Peace Marathon (RWA) changed

The Kigali International Peace Marathon (RWA) will take place on Sun 17 May 2020, not Sun 24 May 2020 as previously published.

Date changes Santiago Marathon

Race date for Santiago Marathon (CHI) changed

The Santiago Marathon (CHI) will take place on Sun 17 May 2020, not Sun 19 April 2020 as previously published.

Race news Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps Marathon bans persistent cheat

The Marine Corps Marathon recently concluded an investigation indicating that a 55-year-old female participant at both the Marine Corps 17.75km and the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) had cheated over several years by not running the entire course and then claiming the rewards of a finisher.

The investigation was launched when the runner applied for membership of the MCM Runners Club – a group who have officially completed five MCMs. This runner has now been permanently banned from participating in any event organised by MCM.

“Marines pride themselves on their Corps Values of honor, courage and commitment. The Marine Corps Marathon Organization shares these values,” said race director Rick Nealis, “and holds our participants to those same standards.”

This case was a repeated pattern of cheating over four years. In one incident the runner only crossed the start and finish timing mats and posted no on-course data but claimed an age category win during the 2018 17.75km race. During the 44th MCM, the runner only crossed the finish line mat and photographic evidence was not consistent with a runner who completed the marathon.

“Cheaters have no place in our sport,” said Nealis. “Integrity and personal accomplishment will be rewarded even if it takes us years to bestow the award to the true winner.”

Race news Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and We Are Houston 5K

Records fall in Houston

An estimated 200,000 spectators greeted runners from all 50 US states and 57 countries with cheers and Texas hospitality.

The Chevron Houston Marathon welcomed defending champion Biruktayit Degefa (ETH) back to the start to vie for her fourth victory (a historic feat in Houston’s race history), but it was clear from the start that compatriot Askale Merachi (ETH) had other ideas.

Merachi separated from the lead pack before 10K, and she maintained course record pace until the later stages of the race. In spite of running unchallenged to the finish line, she held on to crush her personal best and run the fourth fastest time in Chevron Houston Marathon history, 2:23:29. History eluded Degefa as she finished second in 2:24:57, and Canadian Malindi Elmore, who recently came out of retirement from professional running, finished third in a Canadian national record, 2:24:50.

The men’s race started on pace to break the course record, but slowed over the final four miles. By mile 15, the pack shrank to just five runners, and by mile 17, it turned into a duel between Kelkile Gezahegn (ETH) and Bonsa Dida (ETH). Kelkile and Bonsa slowed dramatically between miles 22 and 24, and then Kelkile hit the gas pedal, leaving Bonsa behind, racing to the finish to win in 2:08:36. Bonsa finished second in 2:10:37, and Amanuel Mesel (ERI) finished third in 2:11:04.

One of the most exciting finishes of the day belonged to Michael Roeger (AUS). Roeger, a T46 Paralympian, obliterated his own world record (2:22:51) to, as he said in the pre-race press conference, “put his competitors on notice” heading into the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Roeger finished 26th overall in 2:19:33.

Americans Adriana Nelson and Craig Hunt led a deep field of U.S. athletes as they both collected eighth place finishes. Nelson clocked 2:33:18, and Hunt ran 2:17:18. Twelve American men and 18 American women met the qualifying standard to compete in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta next month.

In the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, Hitomi Niiya (JPN) entertained fans with a solo performance to the finish. She took command of the race immediately, and, running alongside pacer, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (JPN), she smashed both her personal best and the Japanese national record to win in the third fastest time in Aramco Houston Half Marathon history, 1:06:38. Brillian Kipkoech (KEN) finished a distant second in 1:08:08, and Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui (KEN) rounded out the top three in 1:08:13.

While the women’s race lacked drama, the men’s race more than made up for it. A pack of 14 men rolled through the first 5K on pace to break the course record (59:22), and the pack remained strong at five over the final mile of the race. Last year’s runner-up, Jemal Yimer (ETH), dug the deepest to win in 59:25, producing the second fastest time ever run in Houston and North America. Bernard Ngeno (KEN) was a step behind in 59:26, and Shardrack Korir (KEN) set a personal best to finish third in 59:27.

Matt and Andrew Leach of Great Britain broke the Guinness world record for the fastest father-son duo in the half marathon. Collectively, they ran 2:14:05. The previous record stood at 2:20:33. Matt ran 1:02:55, and Andrew ran 1:11:10.

Canadian Callum Neff competed as the Last Runner Starting to raise funds for the Houston Marathon Foundation. He started behind the entire half marathon and marathon open field, and somehow managed to finish with a net time of 1:09:59. Neff holds the Guinness record for the fastest marathon run while pushing a jogging stroller, 2:31:21.

Steve Schmidt (USA) and Antonio Arreola (USA) joined an exclusive club to become the first two runners to run a sub-three hour marathon for the sixth decade. Schmidt finished in 2:58:07 and Arreola finished a few strides behind in 2:58:18. Schmidt ran his first sub-three hour marathon in 1979, and Arreola ran his first in 1976. Arreola holds the record for the longest time span between his first sub-three hour marathon and his last.

Result

marathon
Men
1 Kelkile Woldaregay GEZAHEGN ETH 2:08:36
2 Bonsa DIDA ETH 2:10:37
3 Amanuel MESEL ERI 2:11:04
4 Benson SEUREI BRN 2:11:51
5 Stephen SCULLION IRL 2:11:52
Women
1 Askale MERACHI ETH 2:23:29
2 Biruktayit Degefa ESHETU ETH 2:24:47
3 Malindi ELMORE CAN 2:24:50
4 Meseret BELETE ETH 2:24:54
5 Bekelech GUDETA ETH 2:29:22

AIMS news

AIMS races among most popular in runner survey

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Seven out of ten of the most popular marathons across Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxemburg are AIMS members.

That’s the result of a poll carried out by running website marathon4you.de, in which 14,000 runners voted.

In order of ranking, the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon, BMW Berlin-Marathon, Jungfrau-Marathon, HAJ Hannover Marathon, Haspa Marathon Hamburg, SwissCityMarathon – Lucerne and Volksbank-Münster-Marathon took seven of the top ten places.

The overall winner was the Rennsteiglauf in Thuringia, Germany, which makes a point of feeding its runners goulash and potato dumplings instead of the more common pasta party. The Luxemburg Night Marathon and the Allgäu Panorama Marathon achieved eighth and tenth place respectively.

The Volksbank-Münster-Marathon (pictured) was voted sixth best race in Germany and top in its region North Rhine Westphalia, beating the Generali Cologne Marathon into second place in the region.

Date changes Sea of Galilee Tiberias Marathon

Race date for Sea of Galilee Tiberias Marathon (ISR) changed

The Sea of Galilee Tiberias Marathon (ISR) will take place on Fri 1 January 2021, not Fri 8 January 2021 as previously published.

Race news Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and We Are Houston 5K

Champions return to Houston

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The Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) has announced the elite field for the forty-eighth running of the Chevron Houston Marathon and the eighteenth Aramco Houston Half Marathon events taking place on January 19.

The Chevron Houston Marathon welcomes back defending 2019 women’s champion Biruktayit Degefa, where she will try to become the only woman to break the tape in Houston four times. The Aramco Houston Half Marathon returns three former champions; 2018 female champion Ruti Aga, and past male winners; Shura Kitata (defending 2019 champion) and Jake Robertson (2018).

Biruktayit Degefa has an opportunity to make history in her seventh consecutive appearance – if she wins, she will be the first athlete in Houston Marathon history, male or female, to win the race four times. In 2019, she became just the third woman in race history to win three times. Degefa started running marathons at age 19, and she is one of the most prolific elite runners competing today. Over the last decade, she has run an incredible 31 marathons (she ran six alone in 2014), landing on the podium 20 times and winning eight times. She returns this year as a favorite for the title, especially on the heels of her PR in Toronto, 2:22:40, to close out 2019.

The outlier story of the 2019 Chevron Houston Marathon, Thomas Rivers Puzey returns to Houston with unfinished business. After pacing through the 30K of 2019’s race on track to run 2:14, the wheels came off for Puzey. He managed to stumble across the finish line with an official finish time of 2:20:19 and a trip to the medic. He will undoubtably again push himself to his limits.

Alexi Pappas, a 2016 Olympian for Greece in the 10,000m, arrives in Houston with a 2:43:38 marathon personal best, but possesses the talent to completely obliterate that time and run closer to the 2:29:30 Olympic standard that she needs to make it to Tokyo for another Olympic appearance. Pappas experienced an extraordinary Olympic debut performance in Rio. She set the Greek national 10,000m record and a new PR to finish 17th in 31:36.16.

In the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, Shura Kitata will look to defend his 2019 title on the heels of his fifth-place finish at the New York City Marathon just a few short months ago. He will be facing several of the same challengers from the 2019 Aramco Houston Half Marathon, so if past precedent remains the same, we are sure to see a fast and competitive race from the gun.

Jake Robertson, 2018 Aramco Houston Half Marathon Champion, returns to Houston after a troubled 2019 fighting injury and rebuilding. After winning in Houston, he went on to win a competitive Beach to Beacon 10K and finished out the year with a fifth-place finish at the Toronto Marathon in 2018 but hasn’t toed the start line in over a year. All eyes will be watching to see his return to the racing scene.

Ruti Aga returns to familiar territory in Houston as the 2018 Women’s Champion of the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. Her finishing time of 1:06:39 from the race remains her personal best. Aga is certain to be in the lead pack vying for the win once again.

The American record holder in the women’s half marathon, Molly Huddle returns to Houston and the course she set the current standard of 1:07:25 on to test her fitness going into the 2020 Olympic Trials in February.

Race news Logicom Cyprus Marathon

Cyprus Marathon’s popularity with overseas runners grows

British runners header

From its beginning, the Logicom Cyprus Marathon has always attracted many runners from abroad, who constantly choose to travel to Cyprus in March in order to compete in the beautiful coastal city of Pafos.

It is the most historical marathon in Cyprus and has been held every year since 1999.

Each year the attendance of overseas runners has grown. Some five years ago only around 700 athletes competed. In 2020 over 4,000 competitors will participate in the four races.

Especially, British runners favour the mild spring Cyprus climate, both for their training programmes and to kickstart their race season. The marathon attracts more runners from Britain than from any other country – both as individuals and as groups from their running clubs.

This year more than 1000 British runners are expected to line up at the start of the races on Sunday 15th March.

The other countries with high attendances are Israel, Russia, Hungary, Poland and Germany.

Notably, in recent years, overseas runners have dominated the longer distance races. Last year 42-year-old British runner Adam Holland won the marathon for the second consecutive year in a time of 2:35:03 and British woman Abi Gooch won top spot on the podium in the 2019 women’s marathon race in a time of 3:23:06.

The Logicom Cyprus Marathon is complemented by a half marathon, a 10km road race, a 5km family fun run and a ‘wine run’ which gives the opportunity to all kinds of runners and sports enthusiasts to run their favourite distance. Online registrations for the 22nd Logicom Cyprus Marathon will remain open till 31st January 2020.

Lives remembered Melbourne Marathon Festival

Ted Paulin 1939–2020

Ted

Melbourne Marathon’s first race director and former Vice-President of AIMS Ted Paulin has passed away, aged 81.

The following edited tribute is taken from The History of the Melbourne Marathon (2012) by Chris Muirden.

Despite not officially being named race director for the first six years of his 16-year stint in the role Paulin carried the weight of the race on his shoulders. A succession of technical directors were responsible for course logistics but Paulin was the face of the event, looking after sponsors, elite runners, prizes and the media in his role as sponsorship, publicity and promotion director.

Paulin had played football in his early twenties before taking up running at age 26. He won a series of distance races, including the Victorian Professional Marathon title seven times. He eventually became president of the Victorian Cross Country League where he met Brian Dixon and that association led to him being contacted by Dixon in 1978 when the Melbourne Marathon idea was founded.

“At the time I worked for The [Melbourne] Age in advertising. I was called in by the Minister (Brian Dixon),” Paulin said when interviewed in 2012. “We set up an office at Olympic Park. The first year was chaotic. There was no signage except for the race banner and barely enough toilets and the train service was more than half an hour late. We got better. You had to. You always had complaints. You try and explain that if 6000 people want to urinate at the same time, then you are going to have a problem.’’

Paulin was 40 in 1978, but still a handy runner. He even made it to start line and ended up finishing eighth in 2:33.37. His passion for the race, which included a leading role in bringing out Bill Rodgers in 1982 and Juma Ikangaa in 1983, was eventually rewarded by Dixon in 1984 when he was given the title of executive director.

While Paulin fought many battles over the years, one of his biggest was trying to get the committee to increase the entry fee, which was $5 for the first three years and still just $17 in 1987. “The entry fee wasn’t enough and I couldn’t talk the committee around to raise it,’’ he said. “For example, I saw the (timing) chips in Berlin way back when they came out but we couldn’t afford them. We used hand-written cards for timing in those days. It was very old-fashioned stuff.’’

Paulin tried numerous things to stimulate the race after the initial boom. He expanded the events under the race umbrella to include a women’s 10km fun run and a half-marathon series and, once age limits were imposed, encouraged a shorter Marafun race for children. He came up with the idea of rewarding 10-year runners with membership to their own elite “Spartans” club which enjoyed great success with more than 1000 members.

He was responsible for Melbourne Marathon joining AIMS in the early years and was elected to the Board of Directors at the 3rd World Congress in 1985 and as Vice-President at the 7th World Congress in 1991. He made regular trips to overseas marathons and meetings which helped him with ideas and kept him in the loop with international athletes.

Dixon was voted out as race chairman just before the 1993 race and Paulin was ousted early in 1994. “He (Dixon) still believes that I’d knifed him, but I hadn’t,’’ Paulin said. “The two key figures were Derek Clayton and (finance director) Doug Bourne. I was at the 1996 AIMS Congress in Barcelona and when I came back I was put out on the spot by Clayton and Bourne. They just came to my office in Olympic Park and wanted me to go straight away because they thought I’d take everything with me. I never had a contract. It was always word of mouth with me. I think there was jealousy about my involvement with AIMS. As soon as I was gone, they pulled out of it.’’

Paulin kept running well into his seventies and ran a gardening business from his home called Tidy Ted’s.

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