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Berlin Marathon organizers prepare to host 35,000 runners at September race

After missing out on the race in 2020 due to COVID-19, runners will be welcomed back to Berlin this fall

2013 Berlin Marathon Photo by: Frank Stebner

Organizers of the Berlin Marathon announced on Monday that their race will make a comeback this fall after COVID-19 forced its cancellation in 2020. The race is set for September 26, and 35,000 are expected to race. Ahead of the marathon, organizers will hold 10K and half-marathon test events in July and August to ensure that their health and safety precautions are effective, and if that turns out to be the case, the German government will allow the fall race to move forward. 

All of the mass participation races at the World Marathon Majors (WMMs) in 2020 were cancelled due to the coronavirus, and only two of the six events (Tokyo and London) went ahead with elite-only runs. This year, officials from the Boston, London, New York City and Tokyo marathons have all confirmed their plans for in-person mass participation runs.

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Berlin now looks to be set to go as well (although the German government will have final say if the test events don’t go well or if the country is hit with another wave of COVID-19), and the Chicago Marathon is also on the schedule. If all of the WMMs go ahead as planned, all six races will take place within just a six-week stretch, making for an extremely busy fall racing calendar. 

Berlin Marathon
Kenenisa Bekele winning the 2016 Berlin Marathon. Photo: SCC EVENTS/Camera4.

While the Berlin Marathon is going ahead with a large number of runners, the race is not free of COVID-19 restrictions, and participants will all have to provide proof of full vaccination or produce a negative test before the event. Local health officials are still working on a full health and safety plan for the event and test races. 

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The race’s expected 35,000 runners is 10,000 fewer than the field from the 2019 race, but it’s still quite big in comparison to some of the other WMMs. The Tokyo Marathon, which is set for October 17, will host 25,000 runners, and Boston Marathon organizers plan to welcome just 20,000 runners to their October 11 race.