The Rite-Aid Cleveland Marathon announced Wednesday that its 2020 races, scheduled for May 16-17 downtown, will now be hosted as "virtual events." Runners can log their miles at locations of their choice from April 15 to May 17. Shirts and medals will then be mailed in June.
Runners who prefer not to participate in virtual races have the option to defer their registration to 2021 or 2022. (A marathon operations spokesperson did not respond directly when Scene inquired about refunds, forwarding us instead the press statement posted to the marathon's website.)
“This is certainly not the outcome anyone wanted. We love our runners, and we know that so many of them have been training hard for our race in May,” said Jack Staph, Executive Director of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, in the statement. “We share their disappointment and frustration. However, we know that this is the absolute right decision to protect the health and safety of our participants and the community at large, which is our number one priority. It is just the right thing to do.”
For most of March, the site has been letting runners know that the marathon would be monitoring the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak. In three emails to registered runners, updates said that they were assessing the situation closely and working with partners at University Hospitals.
The site now says that the marathon did their best to work with the City of Cleveland to find an alternate date in the fall, but that available weekends were in short supply due to the Cleveland Browns schedule, among other things.
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