Athletics: Paris Marathon is latest big race called off as Covid-19 cases pick up in France

Runners going through a cooling water stream during the 41st Paris Marathon in 2017. The 2020 edition of the race has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Runners going through a cooling water stream during the 41st Paris Marathon in 2017. The 2020 edition of the race has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - This year's Paris Marathon has been cancelled, the organisers said on Wednesday (Aug 12), as France battles against a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus.

The event was originally due to take place on April 5 but had been postponed to Nov 15 because of the pandemic.

"After having tried everything to maintain the event, we, alongside the City of Paris, feel obliged to cancel the 2020 edition of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris and the Paris Breakfast Run," the organisers said in a statement.

"Faced with the difficulty that many runners, especially those coming from abroad, had in making themselves available... it was decided that it would be better... for those concerned if we organised the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris in 2021.

"We will be working side-by-side with the City of Paris to put on a 2021 edition that brings together the most passionate runners on the most beautiful streets in the world."

The Paris Marathon, one of the most popular events on the global running calendar which routinely attracts over 40,000 participants, is the latest to be disrupted by the worldwide coronavirus crisis.

In June, the New York City Marathon was cancelled, while the Boston Marathon was also scrapped for the first time in its 124-year history.

Marathon majors in Berlin and Chicago were also cancelled while the London Marathon, originally set for April, was postponed to Oct 4 and will be run as an elite-only event.

France has reported over 236,000 infections and more than 30,000 deaths from Covid-19.