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Edmonton Marathon cancelled due to COVID-19, organizers say race may face changes because of pandemic

Thousands of people took part in the Edmonton Marathon on Aug. 21, 2016.
Thousands of people took part in the Edmonton Marathon on Aug. 21, 2016. Global One News Helicopter

The Edmonton Marathon is the latest event in Alberta’s capital to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The race, which had been set for Aug. 15-16, would have had over 5,000 runners hitting the streets for 5k, 10k, half- and full-marathon distances.

“We feel horrible because we know so many people had started their training,” Running Room president John Stanton said Monday night.

Stanton said organizers did consider postponing the marathon until the fall.

“The reality is, until there’s a vaccine, until there’s proper testing, it’s just not practical,” he explained.

READ MORE: Deena Hinshaw defends call to restrict mass gatherings through summer as Alberta’s COVID-19 death toll rises

Anyone who had already entered the 2020 race can roll their registration over to 2021 or 2022.

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For many, running is a social activity. Race routes are packed with runners and supporters. The start and finish areas are crowded. Stanton believes race organizers are going to have to make big adjustments if social distancing continues.

“There’s a lot of preparation for how to deal with this going forward. It’s going to change everything. How do we have a mass start? Can we still in the future have a mass start?” Stanton said. “How are we going to do an expo? How do we handle water stations, aid stations? How will we do finish areas?

“We want to make sure it’s safe, well-organized and an event that is fun for everyone to participate [in].”

Even with the marathon off the calendar, Stanton hopes runners will keep up with their training routines.

“Exercise is a great antidote for us right now,” he said. “It helps calm us down. It helps deal with the stress we’re all faced with today.

“It helps in making clear, concise decisions. It helps you sleep better.”

The Boston Marathon, originally set for April 20, has been postponed until Sept. 14.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about public health orders and recommendations related to COVID-19 in Alberta.

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