The Athens Marathon, dubbed the ‘Athens Classic Marathon The Authentic’, has been canceled due to concern over the increase of COVID-19 cases in the Attica region.
The marathon had been scheduled for Nov. 8 and follows the legendary route purportedly run by the ancient Greek messenger Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens to announce victory over the Persians in the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.
The Greek athletic federation, SEGAS, said they considered a number of scenarios, including reducing the number of participants for the race and enforcing a compulsory COVID-19 test before the race. The event was ultimately called off due to the event organisers not being able to garruntee the safety of the runners.
“We are very optimistic that, after this pandemic is over, we will all run together in our races in 2021, a very important year for Greece since it coincides with the anniversary of the 200 Years after the Greek Revolution,” organisers said in a statement.
The classic marathon route has grown in popularity since the 1970s, and the event now includes 10-kilometre and 5-kilometre races.
The federation said participants will be contacted and offered a refund or to transfer their participation to 2021. It said it will organise a virtual race in November that will be open to all.
“It is going to be a race for all, full of surprises, that will allow you to test yourself either running alone on the route of your choice, or being joined by a small number of friends and/or family members,” organisers added.