Originally due to take place on 5 April 2020, this year’s BMW Berlin Marathon, like most major events worldwide over the next six months, had been rescheduled due to mounting coronavirus concerns.
When a new race date of 27 September 2020 was confirmed, amid a flurry of other marathon postponements, organisers began setting the wheels in motion for a September event, and runners amended their training schedules with a new goal date in mind. Most people seemed confident that the race was back on and, come autumn, they’d be waiting excitably at the start line.
Then, following a press conference held by the Berlin Senate yesterday, it was announced that all events with more than 5,000 attendees would be prohibited in Germany until 24 October 2020. The Berlin Marathon would clearly have to be cancelled, and organisers went on to confirm this last night.
The decision has rocked the running world – Berlin Marathon runners once again are left waiting to find out what will become of their race places, with organisers likely doing all they can in uncertain times to share clear information. But more concerning still is the fact that almost all of the rescheduled race events across the world fall within this ‘prohibited’ timeframe according to the Berlin Senate. If Germany, following what was likely to have been sound scientific advice, consider large-scale events before 24 October to be a danger to public health, what could that mean for, say, the London Marathon?
The designated ‘safe’ period that runners and race organisers alike had ear-marked as autumn 2020 is looking less and less secure. While the uncertainty is difficult, particularly for those adhering to strict training plans, it would be wise to keep an open mind to further date changes or potential cancellations.
It would be devastating for the London Marathon to be cancelled on 4 October – it’s a day when the city’s urban beauty shines, when the whole country has its eye on the running world, when new records are set and novice runners inspired to take on the challenge themselves. But if it’s in the best interest of the public, and the event is deemed too dangerous to go ahead, we have to pull together and stay strong.
This pandemic won’t extinguish the passion we have as a community – running will be back and stronger than ever. In the meantime, keep training, keep an open mind and we’ll update you as soon as more information is made available.