SA roadrunning 2020 calendar a write-off as Soweto Marathon cancelled
JOHANNESBURG - The Soweto Marathon scheduled for November 1, was cancelled on Monday due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The news comes the day after the Comrades Marathon was originally scheduled to take place before its cancellation, with many runners taking to the streets to compete in a ‘virtual race’ on Sunday.
The cancellation of the Soweto Marathon, effectively means there are no major long distance races left on the SA road running calendar this year.
Soweto Marathon Trust chairperson Sello Khunou said: "We’re deeply disappointed at not being able to host the 27th edition of this iconic annual event.
“The People’s Race has always been a great celebration of our people’s strong spirit, but with the Covid-19 pandemic expected to peak only around September this year, we cannot take the risk of hosting 40,000 people on November 1, which is too soon thereafter.
"The Soweto Marathon is so much more than just a road race. It’s a celebration of our history, our heritage, and our country and a reminder to runners that resilience, perseverance, and commitment are key to success, even when times are tough, and the road is long.
"I would like to thank our sponsors who stood behind our decision wholeheartedly. We will be bigger and better come 2021 when the glorious Soweto and her people will host our athlete’s once again.”
Vuyo Lee, chief marketing officer at Old Mutual, the title sponsor of the race, said: "As a responsible business, we have a duty of care to all our stakeholders and we must do whatever we can to help curb the spread of the pandemic, and protect the health and safety of our people," she said.
"Much as we love the People’s Race and its unique celebration of iconic locations in Soweto, the struggle against Covid-19 is a battle that can only be won by social distancing and staying away from crowds as much as possible.”