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Hamburg Marathon, Which Still Hasn’t Canceled, Announces a Strict Hygiene Policy

In the same week the Berlin Marathon and New York City Marathon were canceled, Hamburg Marathon race organizers announced they are moving forward with plans to host 26.2 in Germany amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On June 23, race organizers shared an extensive hygiene policy, which was proposed to the city of Hamburg in hopes that the marathon will happen on September 13.

Hamburg Marathon race organizers do not have the city’s approval to gather the 14,000 runners anticipated for the event, but they are hoping to receive permission by the beginning of August, communications director Reinald Achilles confirmed in an email to Runner’s World.

The Hamburg marathon and half marathon were planned for April 19 but had to be rescheduled when the German government implemented a nationwide shut down in mid-March. While the number of new infections has stabilized at a lower level, as reported by Reuters on June 17, the country’s ban on large events was extended to October 24. But exceptions are being made for events where contract tracing and hygiene regulations are possible. 

If the event continues, the Hamburg Marathon will likely be the first large-scale international marathon to be hosted since the start of the pandemic. 

“We are optimistic that the Haspa Marathon Hamburg will be started on September 13,” race director Frank Thaleiser said in a statement. “We have the plans and the infrastructure required. We will now make detailed plans together with the city to realize the race.”

The hygiene policy, outlined by race officials last Tuesday, was developed by experts at Manchester Metropolitan University in England, which offers a masters degree in crowd safety and risk analysis. 

To prepare for the 10,000 marathon participants and 4,000 half marathon runners expected to compete, race organizers are planning to include social distancing and increased hygiene measures prior to and during the event. 

The half marathon and the marathon will have different start and finish areas, and the runners will begin each race in staggered groups of 1,000 about 10 minutes apart over the course of two hours. Before the event, runners will be assigned in predetermined groups and corralled in different halls of the expo building prior to the start. Disinfection stations will be available throughout the event area and along the course. 

Each participant will be given a scarf with a breathing filter to be worn over the nose and mouth in the event areas. And unlike previous races, open food and drink will not be available in the finish area. Instead, race organizers will be offering a refueling package to the participants. 

The elite field will be a smaller group of 30 athletes who will be required to complete COVID-19 testing prior to the competition. Runners in the elite and the mass field will not be allowed to participate if they are traveling from countries where the virus poses a higher risk. 

“The organizational and hygiene policy should demonstrate that a running event with up to 14,000 participants within a city environment can be carried out responsibly while respecting the restrictions on contact and current hygiene guidelines since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Thaleiser said in a statement. 

On June 24, the Berlin Marathon, which hosted 62,444 participants in 2019, was officially canceled. The news followed earlier reports in April in which race organizers announced the World Marathon Major would not go on as planned because of the ordinance set in place by the German government prohibiting all events with more than 5,000 people until October 24. The race looked into different options for holding the event but ultimately determined it wasn’t possible to continue on September 26-27. 

The New York City Marathon was also canceled last Wednesday in a joint decision made by the New York Road Runners and the New York City Mayor’s Office. The marathon was supposed to take place in November, and it would have been the 50th running of the event. 

New York and Berlin are the latest World Marathon Majors to be canceled or postponed in 2020. The Boston Marathon was initially postponed from April to September before being canceled in May. The London Marathon was rescheduled for October 4, and the Chicago Marathon remains on the calendar for October 11.

(06/30/2020) Views: 1,170 ⚡AMP
by Taylor Dutch (Runner’s World)
Haspa Marathon Hamburg

Haspa Marathon Hamburg

The HASPA MARATHON HAMBURG is Germany’s biggest spring marathon and since 1986 the first one to paint the blue line on the roads. Hamburcourse record is fast (2:05:30), the metropolitan city (1.8 million residents) lets the euphoric atmosphere spill over and carry you to the finish. Make this experience first hand and follow the Blue Line....


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