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Organizers of the annual BMO Vancouver Marathon have made a decision to cancel this year’s upcoming race scheduled for May 3 amidst growing COVID-19 pandemic concerns.
Yesterday’s announcement by the provincial government to ban all public gatherings with over 250 people and encourage social distancing was a decisive factor in this move to cancel the event, which first began in 1972.
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“We respect this decision, and understand the importance of doing everything we can to keep our community as safe as possible. The health and safety of our runners, our volunteers, fans, stakeholders, and the public at large, is always our highest priority,” reads a release by the not-for-profit Vancouver International Marathon Society.
“We all share in your disappointment. We take our responsibility of delivering a first-class experience to you very seriously, and know first hand the effort, time and commitment that goes into preparing for this event.”
Last year, the event saw a record combined attendance of over 18,000 runners in the full marathon, half marathon, and the eight-km distance race, which are all held on the same day. The full marathon attracts some of the world’s most elite runners.
This also follows the decision by a separate organization to cancel the Vancouver Sun Run originally scheduled for April 19.
Like the Sun Run, the Vancouver Marathon’s organizers are not issuing any refunds as a majority of these registration fee revenues have already been spent on operations and advance purchases.
But organizers are still providing registered participants with the option to take part in “virtual race opportunities” to claim their tech shirt and medal, with the option of picking up their completion prizes at select Running Room store locations or the Fall Classic 2020 Half Marathon race. These prizes can also be mailed.
Other offers entail free race entry to the upcoming Fall Classic, and a 20% discount to the 2021 BMO Vancouver Marathon.
A slew of events and attractions both locally and around the world have been cancelled and closed in recent days in response to the pandemic.
With coronavirus on the rise, the BC Ministry of Health is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.