With social distancing and other limiting rules still in place for mass participation events, as well as with all uncertainties surrounded by new waves of virus mutations, RunCzech has elected to cancel their highly popular Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon and the Birell Prague Grand Prix, planned for September 4-5, as well as the Prague Relay planned for August 25.

Staging a world class event requires months of preparations, which the organizers don’t have at disposal under the circumstances, and RunCzech prizes quality too much to jeopardize it.

Even if there was more time, considering the size of the events, the organizers would have been required to stagger the start of those races. And with tens of thousands of runners participating, the events would have dragged on endlessly. Staggered starts would have left runners standing around for hours. It would have been a burden on the volunteers who already give so much. And it would have shut down the city for far too long.

According to Mr. Capalbo, the president of the organizing committee, “the citizens of Prague enthusiastically support what we’re doing here. They celebrate with us. But closing the city for whole weekend and keeping everyone waiting that long would be unfair to the runners and to the locals.”

To all registered runners that have paid the entry fee, the organizers are making available the option to either transfer their registration to 2022, or to transform the registration fee into a voucher for the e-shop or to donate their amount to the project ‘Get up and run’ for students that helps to improve the sport facilities in high schools.

Meanwhile, RunCzech is still planning to stage its next regional events, the Generali Česká Red Run on June 24 and the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon on August 14, which are in line with the health and safety measures and are feasible to take place.

On top, starting from August and lasting until the end of October, the organizers offer a free of charge virtual running challenge called Mattoni FreeRun Run & Plog. The project is linked with the Plogging Cesko association and together will inspire runners to collect waste while running and make their region greener.

The destiny of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon and the events in Usti nad Labem, Liberec, and Ceske Budejovice is being discussed and monitored daily. The organizers will release further information in the month of August.

The organization is hopeful that, with more people receiving the Covid vaccine, their regular race schedule will resume soon. In the meantime, Mr. Capalbo has a simple message of hope for runners. “You keep training. And we’ll keep thinking.”

posted Thursday July 22nd