(12-Jan) -- Following a similar policy to last December's Taipei Marathon, the independent New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon on March 21, will require elite athletes to go through a legally-mandated, two-week quarantine before the race. The strict policy requires athletes to arrive on February 25, then go directly to a hotel where they will remain in their rooms for 14 days.
IMAGE: The start of the 2019 New Taipei City Marathon (image courtesy of the race organizers)
"Each athlete will have a single room with no authorization to exit nor meeting anybody for any kind of reason," reads the official instructions sent by the race to athlete representatives. "Breaking this rule will mean to be fined."
Fines for breaking quarantine in Taiwan can be stiff. CNN reported that a man was fined USD 3500 for leaving his hotel room for just eight seconds last December. He had briefly stepped into the hallway outside of his hotel room.
Each athlete will be furnished with a treadmill in their rooms to maintain their training, and will receive their meals via hotel room service. No physiotherapy service will be available due to the COVID restrictions, but the athletes will be treated to free wi-fi. On March 12, athletes will be permitted to leave the quarantine hotel and go to "a regular hotel," the instructions say.
Enduring these harsh restrictions could be worth it. The race winners (male and female) will earn USD 30,000 and they can earn an additional USD 10,000 for breaking the course records of 2:11:17 and 2:34:08, respectively. This race is one of the few marathons in the world which is confirmed to take place as an in-person race in the first quarter of 2021, and earnings opportunities for elite marathoners are scarce right now.
Taiwan, an island nation, has been incredibly successful in protecting its 24 million people from the ravages of COVID19. The country has only registered a total of 838 cases and just seven deaths since the pandemic began, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The 2020 New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon was cancelled due to the pandemic; it had been scheduled for Sunday, March 15. When it was last held in 2019, Kenyans Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo and Mathew Kipsaat were the winners, setting the aforementioned course records.