Organisers of the 2020 KBC Dublin Marathon on Tuesday morning confirmed the cancellation of the entire race and countdown race series, deciding that after exploring the many alternatives for running the events safely, “ultimately none were viable” in the face of Covid-19.
The 41st running of the event, which had been set for Sunday October 25th, was a 25,000-entry sell-out, the organisers announcing that capacity back in January after introducing a new part-lottery entry system. Such is the ever pressing interest for race entries they received just over 35,000 applications in all.
All entries for the 2020 race and countdown series of four races will now be valid for the 2021 races. For those who do not wish to avail of this, a full refund option will be available.
“We know this is extremely disappointing for all runners, especially those who secured marathon entries,” said Jim Aughney, the long-serving Dublin Marathon Race Director.
“We made the difficult decision in the best interest of the health and wellbeing of all those involved in making our events such a success from runners, supporters, volunteers, sponsors, to suppliers. We explored many alternatives for running the events safely but ultimately none were viable.”
As a result of the 2020 Dublin Marathon cancellation, Athletics Ireland have confirmed that the 2020 National Marathon Championship, scheduled to take place within the event, has also been cancelled for 2020. All athletes entered in the 2020 National Marathon Championship will automatically have their entry deferred to the new 2021 event, as agreed with the Dublin Marathon.
The refund option, for those who wish to avail of it, will be available on “Manage My Bookings” for the 2020 Dublin Marathon and the Race Series until June 18th 2020. A full list of Q&A’s is available on the Dublin Marathon website www.kbcdublinmarathon.ie.
Two of the four countdown races, the Fingal four-mile and the South Dublin 10K, had already been postponed until October and November respectively; the Frank Duffy 10-Mile and Dublin Half Marathon had been scheduled for August 29th and September 19th, those also now rolling over into 2021.
It had already been decided the Dublin Marathon could not proceed as an “elite only” race: several big city marathons are still considering this option, the Tokyo Marathon taking place back in March with the elite field of around 300 runners, when Covid-19 when still in its early stages, with the London Marathon, postponed from last month to October 4th, not ruling out that possibility either.
The difference with marathons such as Tokyo and London, however, is that their elite fields can still attract a live TV audience, and thereby justify the enormous expense of closing off the roads along the 26.2-mile route. Two of the major autumn marathons in Japan, in Yokohama and Fukuoka, were also cancelled outright last week, and while the organisers of the London Marathon are for now giving themselves until August before deciding whether or not to proceed as a mass-participation event.
Dublin’s concerns were not simply around social distancing guidelines at this point, but also whether or not to proceed with a range of marathon-related contracts that including the manufacture of the finisher’s t-shirt and medals.
2020 also marked the second year of race sponsor KBC Bank, and the event has enjoyed significant growth over the last decade, and come a long way from the 2,100 people that lined up at the start of the first Dublin Marathon in 1980. There has been a record number of participants every year since 2009, making Dublin the fourth largest marathon in Europe.
Only this year for the first time since 1980, there will be no race at all.
More information: THE IRISH TIMES.