With less than two weeks to go until the NN Mission Marathon in Hamburg, event organizers have postponed the race until April 18 due to local COVID-19 restrictions. Those same restrictions in Hamburg are forcing officials to find a new location for the race with less than a month of notice. The event is set to feature Eliud Kipchoge, who is looking to bounce back from his sub-par performance at the London Marathon last October, but he will now have to wait a little longer before getting back in action.
The NN Mission Marathon in Hamburg will be postponed to 18 April. Over the past months we have learned that we need to be flexible and stay positive. With this in mind, I thank everybody involved, keep working hard with positive minds to find a good alternative. pic.twitter.com/hX6s6LsD4F
— Eliud Kipchoge – EGH🇰🇪 (@EliudKipchoge) March 31, 2021
“Over the past months, we have learned that we need to be flexible and stay positive,” Kipchoge tweeted after the news of the Mission Marathon postponement broke. It’s true that members of the global running community got used to race cancellations throughout 2020, but by the end of the year and moving into 2021, it seemed like event organizers had figured out the right formula to hold a run during the pandemic (for elite-only races, at least).
Unfortunately, COVID-19 proved once again that there is no way to guarantee an event’s safety during this pandemic. Granted, the Mission Marathon has only been postponed, but seeing as it has been rescheduled to run just one week after originally planned, it could be tough for organizers to find another city in the coming weeks.
In a press release announcing the postponement, Hamburg Marathon managing director Frank Thaleiser expressed his team’s regret. “Of course we were quite disappointed at first, but we can understand the decision given the current situation,” he said. “We are now putting all our efforts into the realization of the event at a different location and are optimistic that we will find a solution.”
Thaleiser said he and the other organizers owe this race to the more than 70 athletes who were set to run in Hamburg. For Kipchoge, the race represented a chance to prove he’s still the man to beat going into the Tokyo Olympics, but for other runners, this was perhaps their last opportunity to qualify for the Summer Games. If the race cannot go ahead, many runners will have to scramble to find another competition before the summer.