For the second year running organisers of the Dublin Marathon have been forced to cancel the event outright given the still “many unknowns” around outdoor mass participation events for the rest of the year.
After exploring several options as to what exact shape and form the 2021 event may take on the October Bank Holiday weekend, the decision to cancel outright was made on Wednesday morning, less than four months out from the race date of Sunday October 24th.
While always unlikely to be the full 25,000 sell-out entry of runners originally signed up in advance of the 2020 edition, postponed in May of last year due to Covid-19, there was still some hope and expectation a more limited entry will get the go ahead.
However Jim Aughney, the race director, said they were left with little choice but to cancel outright: "It is with great regret that we are cancelling the Dublin Marathon for the second year in a row," he said. "Despite vigorous evaluations, there are still too many unknowns to be confident that we could provide a safe event given the pure scale of the marathon.
“We have a duty of care to the runners, volunteers, suppliers and supporters. This will be extremely disappointing news for all participants entered. We want to thank them for their continued support.”
All entries for the 2021 Dublin Marathon will be valid for the 2022 race. For those who do not wish to avail of this, a full refund option will be available.
Aughney added: “We have come to a critical point in our event planning when a final decision needed to be made. We took into consideration the recent updates on modelling around Covid-19 and the immense challenges of creating a controlled, safe environment for the Dublin Marathon which has a footprint of 26.2 miles with 25,000 runners and 200,000 supporters who line the streets to cheer them on.”
Runners can still enter and take part in the virtual Dublin Marathon over the October Bank Holiday weekend; Saturday 23rd, Sunday 24th and Monday the 25th. The refund window opens today, Wednesday 7th of July and will close at midnight on Saturday July 31st. The refund will be available on “manage my bookings” via Event Master.
With several other big-city marathons already declaring revised race plans from the spring to this coming autumn, Dublin’s date of Sunday October 24th was also considered sufficiently far ahead to assume the near full vaccination of the population. However, there was still likely to be restrictions around social distancing, even at outdoor events, and the number of overseas runners, which were set to make up around 20 per cent of the original 25,000 runners.
That decision to first postpone the 2020 event, announced in May of that year, allowed for all entries to be carried over to this October, or the option of a refund: with just 10 per cent taking up that refund option there will only be limited additional entries, if any.
The postponement of the 2020 Dublin Marathon also meant there was no National Marathon Championship last year, scheduled to take place within the event, all those entries also transferred to this October. It remains to be seen if Athletics Ireland will organise a national marathon for 2021.
The Boston Marathon, typically held in April and with over 30,000 runners from all over the world, announced plans for a limited 20,000-entry race on October 11th, as has New York (November 7th), Chicago (October 10th), Berlin (September 26th) and Tokyo (October 17th) The London Marathon, also traditionally held in April, is now set for October 3rd, the organisers there opening up 50,000 entries, most of which were decided by lottery, an increase of more than 7,000 on the previous finisher record.