As COVID-19 Crisis Deepens, Hope Fades For May Running Events

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(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(07-Apr) -- Nearly three quarters of important May athletics and running events around the world have been cancelled, postponed or turned into virtual events, research by Race Results Weekly (RRW) has found. That's a sharp increase from about three weeks ago when RRW's last survey on March 18 showed that only 14% of May events had been cancelled or postponed due to the COVID19 pandemic.

The RRW proprietary event calendar shows 165 events for May. Sixty-three, or 38%, have declared that they will not be held this year. Events which switched to virtual status, where runners would run on their own near their homes, were also counted as cancelled.

Of the remaining events, 60 (36%) had been postponed until later in the year, although some of those had yet to identify a firm date. The Vitality Westminster Miles / London 10,000, scheduled for Monday, May 25, was typical.

"We are currently working with our partners to find an alternative date so please bear with us," said a statement on the event's website. "We'll send regular email updates to runners who have signed up for the event and share news on social media to keep them informed."

The bulk of the cancelled events come in the first three weekends where 45 of 95 events, or 47%, have been cancelled or moved to virtual status. The last weekend of May, a month which has five weekends, shows only seven of 32 events (22%) have been cancelled, with another 12 postponed.

Moreover, some organizers acknowledged privately that their events will ultimately be cancelled, but that they were waiting for local or national authorities to order their cancellation.

Looking ahead, far fewer organizers have cancelled or postponed their events in June, although there have been several significant cancellations and postponements. The NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships, scheduled for June 10 - 13, were cancelled back in March when the NCAA declared a blanket cancellation of spring sports. Also cancelled in June are the USA U20 Championships (Miramar, Fla., June 12 - 14), Grandma's Marathon (Duluth, Minn., June 20), and the Western States 100 Mile (Auburn, Calif., June 27). The USA Olympic Trials, originally scheduled for June 19 - 28, will not happen until 2021 with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, but USA Track & Field has yet to announce whether there will be a national athletics championships this year.

In total, RRW has documented 151 events which have been postponed since mid-March until later this year. Nearly all of them (at least those with firm dates) have been rescheduled for September, October and November.  It remains to be seen how many of these events will actually be held with so much uncertainty surrounding the resolution of the COVID19 crisis.

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The recent announcements of program cuts to men's cross country at Akron and men's track at Central Michigan have resurfaced a feeling of uncertainty for the future of NCAA cross country and track. Here is a breakdown of where our sport currently stands within the NCAA system.

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