(24-Jun) -- The world's largest marathon, the TCS New York City Marathon, has been cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to cancel the race, which would have been held for the 50th time on Sunday, November 1, was made jointly by race founders and organizers New York Road Runners, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
PHOTO: Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor celebrates after winning the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
"While the marathon is an iconic and beloved event in our city, I applaud New York Road Runners for putting the health and safety of both spectators and runners first," said Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. "We look forward to hosting the 50th running of the marathon in November of 2021."
The race, which had a world record 53,627 finishers in 2019, has only been cancelled twice since the first edition in 1970. It was also cancelled in 2012 due to Super Storm Sandy which flooded portions of the city, knocked out power, and devastated several city neighborhoods. That edition of the race was cancelled just two days before it was scheduled to be held.
In cancelling the race, New York Road Runners President and CEO Michael Capiraso said that from a health and safety standpoint he and his team had no other choice.
"Canceling this year’s TCS New York City Marathon is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved, but it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective," Capiraso said through a media statement. "Marathon Day and the many related events and activities during race week are part of the heart and soul of New York City and the global running community, and we look forward to coming together next year."
New York Road Runners, the world's largest not-for-profit running advocacy organization and race organizer, has not held an in-person race since March 1. In their most recent communication to runners and the media, they had announced that their in-person running events were cancelled through August 15. Runners throughout the world who had been accepted for the marathon waited on pins and needles to know whether the race would be held.
"Sadly, it's official," tweeted New York doctor Sophie Balzora who had been accepted into the race. "And undoubtedly the right decision."
"Devastated, but this is the right call," tweeted Jill Laufer a public relations manager who, like Dr. Balzora, had received a notice from New York Road Runners stating that the race had been cancelled.
The cancellation of the marathon is yet another blow for New York City which has suffered mightily from the pandemic. Nearly 31,000 New York City residents died from COVID-19 and there have been nearly 390,000 confirmed cases. The city is only beginning to recover and reopen its economy. The marathon produces a massive economic impact for the city each year, roughly $415 million according to New York Road Runners, as it brings tens of thousands of visitors who stay in hotels, dine in restaurants, take taxis and go shopping.
Race organizers said that they would be connecting directly with runners registered for the race by July 15 with more information regarding cancellation resolution details, including the option to receive a full refund of their entry fee or a guaranteed complimentary entry for either 2021, 2022, or 2023. Runners who gained entry through a charity or tour operator will receive instructions for the organizations through which they entered.
Separately, the BMW Berlin Marathon has also been cancelled, organizers announced today. The event had 44,065 finishers in 2019.
"Taking into account the containment measures regulation on the occasion of the COVID 19 pandemic and the last update from June 17, 2020, the BMW BERLIN MARATHON 2020 will not take place on September 26 and 27, 2020," reads a statement posted on the event's website. "Furthermore, it is also not possible --after a thorough examination and various discussions, including with the authorities-- to hold the event later this year."