The New York Road Runners (NYRR) on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the New York City Half Marathon this Sunday in light of growing fears over the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“Due to the rapidly developing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the NYC Half, scheduled for Sunday, March 15, and the accompanying Rising New York Road Runners youth event, have been canceled,” the organization said. “We appreciate the support of New York City officials through this complicated decision-making process.”
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The event won’t be held again until 2021.
The group said resources needed to keep runners safe have been “strained” since the spread of the virus, and promised to refund runners’ entry fees or grant them automatic admission into next year’s race.
“The resources necessary to organize an event with 25,000 runners on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan have become strained during this difficult period,” the organization said. “Over the past week, the NYRR team worked hard to adjust plans, implementing modifications and accommodations to alleviate crowding and facilitate social distancing. Unfortunately, it has become clear that we will be unable to proceed in the manner that our runners have come to expect.”
The group added: “Due to the scale of the race during this unprecedented time, runners who registered directly with NYRR will be contacted in the next few days with the option to select either a full refund of their entry fee or guaranteed non-complimentary entry to the 2021 NYC Half next March (exact date TBD).”
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New York state has had 173 confirmed cases of the disease so far but no fatalities as of Tuesday. There have been 27 deaths in the United States since the outbreak.