Southampton Marathon is finally downed by Covid-19
Third time unlucky for 2020 Southampton Marathon.
ABP Southampton Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K were hoping to be one of the first mass participation running events to be given the post-Coronavirus green light. However, despite herculean efforts by organisers ReesLeisure Events and an innovative 'Open Gantry Policy', the third choice date of Sunday 9 August is now cancelled, so it's virtual only for 2020.
Last year, on Sunday 4 May, almost 7,000 runners participated in one of the South of England's top events, with more than 1,000 completing the full marathon. The winners over 26.2 miles – two laps of the half marathon course – were the local favourite and defending champion Richard Waldron (Southampton, 2:39:44) and W40 Kirsty Aked (Denmead Striders, 3:08:16).
With this year's sixth annual event blown off course by Covid-19 on 22 April and again on the first reserve date of 21 June, organisers reacted by swiftly setting up an 'Open Gantry Policy' for Sunday 9 August, hoping to ensure up to 10,000 runners could file safely through the start over a four hour period to help with social distancing.
Sadly, that is not going to be possible now as the country makes a slow but steady recovery from the pandemic, so the remaining options are to run the event virtually; transfer your entry to the Winchester Half Marathon in September 2020 or 2021; defer your Southampton entry to either April 2021 or 2022 (with payment by installments plan offered for 2021), or request a refund.
Southampton Solo Virtual is open now to both existing and new entrants. This is your chance to bag your colour-coded technical T-shirt according to the distance of your run, plus the all-important medal, of course. Those who pre-entered the original races will receive a £20 credit note towards any future ReesLeisure event. New virtual entrants will pay £15 to help defray the costs of medals and T-shirts.
So the sixth ABP Southampton Marathon has six flexible options for entrants ranging from a rewarding virtual run to entry possibilities for Winchester or Southampton from September this year to April 2022 – surely something there to suit everyone's circumstances.
Organisers Chris and Nikki Rees have posted this heartfelt but positive message on the event website: "Thank you for all your support, it has been a real rollercoaster through 2020 to date with continually evolving and incredibly challenging times worldwide. We know many of you will find this news disappointing and we are a little heartbroken as we have never had to cancel this event before – however, we are working really hard to get as many fantastic opportunities as possible for you to keep up your training, motivation and have goals to work towards".
In these trying times, runABC South salutes hard-pressed race organisers everywhere, but none more so than ReesLeisure with their third time unlucky 2020 ABP Southampton Marathon.
Full race and entry details at ABP Southampton Marathon website here
Image courtesy ReesLeisure/Southampton Half Marathon