SPORT: Cork City Marathon switches to VIRTUAL RACE as 2020 race is cancelled by COVID19

29 May 2020
By Bryan Smyth
bryan@TheCork.ie

All is not lost for those who had registered to take part in the Cork City Marathon 2020. Now in its 14th consecutive year, the marathon is moving online for 2020 in an unprecedented approach for Cork City Council and the race organisers, as a direct response to the current climate. They made the difficult decision today, to cancel this year’s race which had been rescheduled to take place on September 6th.

Pictured Pre-Covid-19 at the photography launch of the 2020 Cork City Marathon were (l to r), John Riordan and Uzma Shaheen of The Sanctuary Runners, KC (Breakfast Show Presenter), and Conor O’Keefe (who had planned to run the Cork City marathon as part of 32 marathons in 32 days in 32 counties with 32 pounds on his back).  Photo: Cathal Noonan

Never has the marathon theme for the last number of years, ‘more than a marathon’, been more apt in that Cork City Council are calling on those who had registered to run for their chosen charities, to use the marathon’s virtual races as an opportunity to run together, by running apart, in whatever manner participants can with the current guidelines in place. All the while, supporters can continue to cheer on their friends and family across the Cork City Marathon social media channels.

The first virtual races will kick off this weekend on May 31st, during what would have been the official date for the marathon and will be ongoing throughout the summer until September 6th.

Speaking on Cork City Council’s plans, Adrienne Rodgers, Race Director of the Cork City Marathon 2020 said; “We have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event in the interest of the health and safety of our participants, volunteers and the thousands of Cork residents who have supported this great event over the last 13 years. The current restrictions on mass gatherings and activities only take us to August 10th, but cognisant of the existing advice, we don’t believe it would be possible to run the event safely in its current format in September.”

For those already registered for the 2020 marathon, all entries will be automatically deferred to the 2021 race, which will take place on the June Bank Holiday weekend – Sunday June 6th, 2021. Refunds are also available by emailing info@corkcitymarathon.ie

While the Cork City Marathon will not go ahead on the streets of Cork this year, those who have registered for the 2020 race, are now being encouraged to instead, participate in what will be a series fun and engaging virtual marathon challenges where the focus will be on community spirit with a touch of competition.

Registered participants of the Cork City Marathon 2020 are encouraged to walk, jog, or run one of the five distance categories available through The Cork City Marathon virtual race website which goes live this Sunday May 31st. Participants can achieve their selected distance across a number of days or weeks within the race time period (safely and always following Government advice on Social Distancing). Their final accumulative race times can be submitted via an easy-to-use e-form which is available on the Cork City Marathon website. All the while, supporters can continue to cheer on their friends and family across social media.

“We are hopeful that everyone that had registered for 2020 will stay registered and will continue to show their amazing support for this race through the virtual races. We invite spectators who are not registered, to tune in to our social channels to cheer the registered participants on. In 2021, we will be endeavouring to ensure that the Cork City Marathon will be the best yet while continuing to incorporate the virtual events.” Ms. Rodgers added.

2019 Cork City Marathon winner, current Irish 50K champion and Irish record holder Gary O’Hanlon has given the virtual races his full support and backing and tells us; “This is a brilliant initiative that I’m delighted to be involved with, it will add a longer life strand to the marathon and gives people the opportunity to continue to reach their target of running a marathon in an unprecedented but very manageable way. It’s going to sustain and grow the marathon community’s involvement while continuing to make it increasingly accessible to all.”

“I’m really looking forward to the virtual races and seeing the diversity synonymous with this marathon and the great human-interest stories that always emerge. Cork City Marathon has a special place in my heart, it really is more than a marathon, so I hope participants come out and support these virtual races across the summer,” he added.

Find out more information about the virtual events at www.corkcitymarathon.ie or follow the Cork City Marathon on Facebook and Instagram @corkcitymarathon or on Twitter @TheCorkMarathon #MoreThanAMarathon

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