Brighton Marathon Weekend's battle for survival
Organisers announce unique and revised format for classic event
Brighton Marathon Weekend is the latest mass participation event to hit a COVID-19 sized roadblock, despite the decision made in March to postpone the event to 18-20 September.
A press release today (30 July) outlines the insurmountable difficulties in staging an event with up to 25,000 anticipated runners, supported by a crowd of up to 150,000 enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans, in a relatively small city in comparison to the size of the marathon.
Brighton Marathon Weekend organisers have collaborated with major UK mass participation event organisers, the local authority, safety advisors and medical team to fully understand how the event could take place while meeting COVID-19 restrictions and the recently updated government guidance.
The statement reads: “Despite our best efforts to find a viable way forwards, we have together concluded that sadly, it is not feasible to stage our event as we had hoped and planned on September 18-20, 2020”.
However, sounding a more encouraging note, organisers continued: “Yet we are delighted to confirm that we are planning to stage part of the Brighton Marathon Weekend in a unique and revised format this autumn. While we are unable to shut down large parts of our city to make way for our usual 26.2-mile course under current guidelines, we are working towards creating a socially distanced, COVID-19 compliant event, which our 2020 participants will be invited to be part of."
The team behind the Brighton Marathon Weekend, all runners and locals who are passionate about the event, the city, community and the charities involved, explained that not hosting the Brighton Marathon Weekend this September was not a decision they had taken lightly.
The exact nature of the revised event remains under wraps for now. Suffice to say there is feverish activity going on behind the scenes and we can expect a further announcement mid-August. Not holding an event in 2020 could lose the local hospitality economy an estimated £12 million in revenue, with local charities facing a significant loss of half a million pounds.
Interestingly, participants who were extensively canvassed overwhelmingly said they can’t wait for events to take place again and will take part before a vaccine is available as long as they deem them safe/COVID-19 compliant, while a majority also felt that additional hygiene and safety measures at an event would not significantly affect their enjoyment of the event.
Image courtesy Brighton Marathon Weekend on Facebook