The New York City Marathon, set to take place on November 1, has been cancelled due to health and safety concerns.
“Cancelling this year’s New York City Marathon is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved, but it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective,” said Michael Capiraso, President and CEO of New York Road Runners, the event’s organisers on Wednesday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Capiraso said he and other organizers had held out hope that the race could happen.
“There was hope but there’s too much uncertainty, and given what we have seen the past few months, this was really the only decision,” said Capiraso.
American public health experts have said mass events, particularly those that bring people together from across the globe, will remain a danger until a treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available.
The experts have also issued warnings about another wave of infections this autumn in the United States, with new cases rising across many states.
“While the marathon is an iconic and beloved event in our city, I applaud New York Road Runners for putting the health and safety of both spectators and runners first,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The event began in 1970 and has grown to become the world’s largest marathon. Last year, more than 53,000 runners crossed the finish line.
Runners who have signed up for this year’s race will be able to choose to receive a refund or to defer their entry to the race during the next three years.
The marathon will take place on November 7 next year.