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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 email@example.com 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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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
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]
The Siberian International Marathon (RUS) will take place on Sun 2 August 2020, not Sat 1 August 2020 as previously published.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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/
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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/
Event organisers contact Irina Outchen: ira@marathonIsrael.co.il
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.”
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.
The Monterey Bay Half Marathon (USA) will take place on Sat 14 November 2020, not Sun 15 November 2020 as previously published.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says that no sporting events will be held in the country before September, even those without any spectators present.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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://126.96.36.199/ .
“We hope that this broadcast will make marathon enthusiasts smile during these hard times,” said Start Right.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration is available at: https://www.4sport-live.com/results/preHome2?event=3085&lan=E
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, ATC – IIRM Executive Director
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.
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).
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.
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”.
The Rio de Janeiro City Marathon (BRA) will take place on Mon 12 October 2020, not Sun 14 June 2020 as previously published.
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.
The Marathon Life Lima42k (PER) will take place on Sun 27 September 2020, not Sun 17 May 2020 as previously published.
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.
The Leiden Marathon (NED) will take place on Sun 22 November 2020, not Sun 10 May 2020 as previously published.
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.
President of AIMS
The Wizz Air Skopje Marathon (MKD) will take place on Sun 4 October 2020, not Sun 10 May 2020 as previously published.
The Peru Runners – Lima Half Marathon & 10k (PER) will take place on Sun 30 August 2020, not Sun 23 August 2020 as previously published.
The Santiago Marathon (CHI) will take place on Sun 6 September 2020, not Sun 17 May 2020 as previously published.
The Kazan Marathon (RUS) will take place on Sun 16 August 2020, not Sun 3 May 2020 as previously published.
The Kaunas Marathon (LTU) will take place on Sun 7 June 2020, not Sun 26 April 2020 as previously published.
The Maraton Cartago (CRC) will take place on Sun 31 May 2020, not Sun 5 April 2020 as previously published.
The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon (GBR) will take place on Sun 20 September 2020, not Sun 3 May 2020 as previously published.
The Cracovia Marathon (POL) will take place on Sun 8 November 2020, not Sun 26 April 2020 as previously published.
The Kigali International Peace Marathon (RWA) will take place on Sun 21 June 2020, not Sun 17 May 2020 as previously published.
The Cork City Marathon (IRL) will take place on Sun 6 September 2020, not Sun 31 May 2020 as previously published.
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.
The Vodafone İstanbul Half Marathon (TUR) will take place on Sun 20 September 2020, not Sun 5 April 2020 as previously published.
The The Canberra Times Marathon Festival (AUS) will take place on Sun 23 August 2020, not Sat 4 April 2020 as previously published.
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.
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.
The Belgrade Marathon (SRB) will take place on Sun 18 October 2020, not Sun 26 April 2020 as previously published.
The Maratonina Città di Udine (ITA) will take place on Sun 27 September 2020, not Sun 4 October 2020 as previously published.
The B.A.A. Boston Marathon (USA) will take place on Mon 14 September 2020, not Mon 20 April 2020 as previously published.
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.”
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.
The Jerusalem Marathon, Half & 10k (ISR) will take place on Fri 6 November 2020, not Fri 20 March 2020 as previously published.
The United Airlines Guam Marathon (GUM) will take place on Sun 13 September 2020, not Sun 5 April 2020 as previously published.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
The Zurich Marató de Barcelona (ESP) will take place on Sun 25 October 2020, not Sun 15 March 2020 as previously published.
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.”
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.
The Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris (FRA) will take place on Sun 18 October 2020, not Sun 5 April 2020 as previously published.
The 17a Treviso Marathon (ITA) will take place on Sun 20 September 2020, not Sun 29 March 2020 as previously published.
The Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon (UKR) will take place on Sun 1 November 2020, not Sat 24 October 2020 as previously published.
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.
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.
The Hengshui Lake International Marathon (CHN) will take place on Sun 20 September 2020, not Tue 22 September 2020 as previously published.
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.
The Banja Luka Half Marathon (BIH) will take place on Sun 11 October 2020, not Sun 17 May 2020 as previously published.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Taichung International Marathon (TPE) will take place on Sun 1 November 2020, not Sun 23 February 2020 as previously published.
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”.
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.
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.
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.”
The Airtel Hyderabad Marathon (IND) will take place on Sun 2 August 2020, not Sun 30 August 2020 as previously published.
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.
(37 × sub-2:10)
(33 × sub-2:28)
NOTE: * All Bahrain runners were Ethiopian-born
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).
The Tashkent International Half Marathon (UZB) will take place on Sun 22 March 2020, not Fri 22 May 2020 as previously published.
The Kigali International Peace Marathon (RWA) will take place on Sun 17 May 2020, not Sun 24 May 2020 as previously published.
The Santiago Marathon (CHI) will take place on Sun 17 May 2020, not Sun 19 April 2020 as previously published.
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.”
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.
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.
The Sea of Galilee Tiberias Marathon (ISR) will take place on Fri 1 January 2021, not Fri 8 January 2021 as previously published.
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.
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.
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
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.