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ORGANIZERS GUARDEDLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT MAY RUNNING EVENTS

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(18-Mar) -- While nearly all running events originally scheduled for mid-March through the end of April have been cancelled or postponed, race organizers are more optimistic about May. Research by Race Results Weekly has shown that only about 14% of road races scheduled for May have been cancelled or postponed. Most are still selling entries, although some have suspended offering new entries due to the uncertain COVID-19 situation.

May has five weekends, and Race Results Weekly looked at a representative sample of 108 prominent road races and race festivals in 27 countries. As of last night, only five of those events had cancelled outright: the 20 km de Lausanne and Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5-K (May 3); Gutenberg-Marathon Mainz (May 10); Göteborgsvarvet (May 16); and Runaway Noosa Marathon & Half-Marathon (May 23).

"I want to share with you today how heartbroken we all are that we had to cancel the 2020 Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events," said
P3R CEO Troy Schooley in a video posted on the event's website. He continued: "I understand the disappointment that you feel; we feel it too, and I'm sure that many of you are upset that this is the outcome. That being said, this is the right decision for our 40,000 runners."

Another 13 events had postponed until later in the year, and seven of those already had firm dates in place and were selling entries. The biggest were the Lilac Bloomsday Run 12-K in Spokane, Wash. (about 35,000 finishers in 2019), which moved from May 3 to September 20, and the Tribuna FM 10-K in Santos, Brazil, which moved from May 17 to November 15.

"It is our fervent hope that the world will have COVID-19 well in the rear-view mirror by then and that Bloomsday will be the same great event, just on a different Sunday," said Bloomsday race director Jon Neill in a statement circulated to the media. He added: "Bloomsday 2020 will be an event to remember. Be a part of that, celebrate with us, and show the world that Spokane is a special place that rises up even in the most unsettling of times."

Of the remaining 90 events that Race Results Weekly surveyed, seven has suspended their registration processes. Those included big events like the ASICS Austrian Women's Run, scheduled for May 17 in Vienna (about 24,000 finishers in 2019), and the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, scheduled for May 23 and 24 (also about 24,000 finishers in 2019). Organizers thought it prudent to tap the brakes on the entry process given all of the uncertainty.

"Right now, we're not canceling," said Ottawa Race Weekend executive director Ian Fraser in a video statement posted on the event's website. "We fully intend to put on our event at the end of May, but we have put a temporary pause on registration just so we can go back and consult with our community partners and the various health agencies we are working with on a day-to-day basis."

Most of the remaining events had special COVID-19 messages posted on their sites, assuring runners that they were consulting with local health officials and stating that it was their goal to act in their runners' and community's best interests. Trying to remain upbeat, organizers tried to express how they were dealing with the same uncertainties as everyone else.

"While the likelihood is decreasing hourly we will be able to hold the race, we remain optimistic," said Buffalo Marathon race director Greg Weber in a statement. "We are hoping the drastic measures being put in place will have a positive and aggressive impact at reducing the spread of the virus in April, and that will start to return to normal in May."