How Coronavirus Is Impacting Running Events

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

RW Editors |

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

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

RELATED: Tokyo Marathon Cancels Mass Participation Race Due to Coronavirus

With the global crisis becoming more dire, race organisers have proactively started to reschedule or altogether cancel races set to take place in the next few weeks, due to the uncertainty of the virus’s spread.

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

RELATED: Will Coronavirus Threaten the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo?

Below is the current status for several upcoming races. This story will be updated as new information emerges.

Tokyo Marathon

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

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

Great Wall Marathon

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

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

RELATED: What Runners Need to Know About Coronavirus


NYC Half Marathon

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

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

Barcelona Marathon

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

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

Rome Marathon

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

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

World Half Marathon Championships

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

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

Paris Marathon

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

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

Two Oceans Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, April 11
  • Status: Cancelled

On the 15th of March, The Two Oceans Marathon issued a statement. “Following an emergency meeting of the Two Oceans Marathon NPC board on Saturday, it was unanimously decided that all Two Oceans Marathon events scheduled for 8-11 April 2020 would be cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the global spread of the coronavirus. Read the full statement here.

Boston Marathon

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

On March 13, about six weeks before the race, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) released a statement that said “The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has been meeting regularly with city and state officials to discuss all updates related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency on March 10, 2020. In consideration of this and guided by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh along with state and municipal government leaders at all levels to undertake all possible measures to safeguard the health of the public, the B.A.A. understands the city’s decision that the Boston Marathon cannot be held on April 20, 2020. We offer our full support to take all reasonable efforts to postpone the 124th Boston Marathon to Monday, September 14, 2020.”

London Marathon

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

Marathon organizers released a statement on March 13, saying that London Marathon Events today (Friday) announced the postponement of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday 26 April. The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon – The 40th Race – is now scheduled to take place on Sunday 4 October 2020.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director, said: “The world is in an unprecedented situation grappling with a global pandemic of COVID-19 and public health is everyone’s priority.

Comrades Marathon

  • Scheduled date: Sunday, June 14
  • Status: Still scheduled.

On the 17th of March, the Comrades Marathon Association issued a statement; “With nearly three months to go to #Comrades2020, the CMA Board has decided that it is premature to postpone this year’s Comrades Marathon. We will however continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will make a decision by 17 April depending upon how the situation evolves on whether to postpone #Comrades2020 to a date later in the year.”

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