The Berlin Marathon, which sees over 40,000 runners and thousands of spectators each year and was scheduled for September 27, is facing cancellation following news that the German government will put a cap of 5,000 people on public events until October 24. The Abbott World Majors site released a statement saying the race will not go ahead as planned, but organizers have yet to say whether this means the event will be cancelled or postponed.
— Abbott WMMajors (@WMMajors) April 21, 2020
At this point, most spring races have been cancelled, along with a few summer events. The Boston and London marathons (and many other races) were postponed until September and October with the hope that fall dates would be safe from COVID-19. If cancelled, Berlin will be the first fall marathon to be called off, and the question will become whether more events will follow.
With a Berlin cancellation, a domino effect may occur, and we could potentially see more fall races disappear due to COVID-19. The bigger events (like the World Marathon Majors) will likely hold off on cancellations for as long as possible, but if more governments follow in Germany’s footsteps and ban events of more than a few thousand people, no race will be safe, nor will they have a say as to whether they can go ahead.
Postponement might still be in the cards for Berlin, and if that’s the route organizers take, the race will have to be rescheduled after October 24. This means a mid-November run would likely be the earliest option to avoid conflicting with the New York City Marathon, which is set for November 1.