Will the 2020 Belfast Marathon take place as schedule September 20? It doesn’t look good

There now appears to be a major question mark over the 39th Belfast Marathon taking place on the revised date of Sunday, September 20.

Belfast Marathon organizers discussed the matter yesterday against a background of Tuesday's announcement that the Dublin Marathon set for Sunday, October 25 would not now take place until 2021.

The matter is further complicated by a statement yesterday from the organizers of the London Marathon which is rescheduled for Sunday, October 4.

Event Director Hugh Brasher said: "We can't be certain if the event can go ahead or, if it can, in what form it will take place. We cannot offer certainty."

Brasher indicated there would be another update on June 21.

It is understood that yesterday's meeting on the Belfast event discussed both the Dublin and London situations. It was agreed that while the position here would be closely monitored, it was necessary for a decision to be taken fairly shortly .

This is because the complexities of arranging such an event require a long lead-in time.

The organization of the race itself could be possible in September with appropriate social distancing arrangements in place.

However there are many other key players involved such as volunteers, marshals, sponsors, suppliers, the PSNI, health and safety personnel plus the necessary infrastructure, all of which require substantial planning.

Last year's Belfast Marathon had a record 4,000 entries and a grand total of 18,000 participants including the Marathon Relay. This makes it easily the biggest mass participation sports event in the province.

With the cancellation of other marathons scheduled for this autumn it now appears more than likely that Belfast will become yet another casualty with a likely rescheduling to the normal May date next year.

posted Thursday May 21st
by Brian Hill