ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An annual extreme mountain race in Alaska has been postponed until next year over coronavirus concerns, organizers said.
The committee that oversees the Mount Marathon Race in Seward announced Sunday that the 93rd running of the Fourth of July event would be postponed until July 2021 after failing to find another appropriate date this year.
The race of about 3 miles (5 kilometers) up and back down Mount Marathon to the finish line in Seward began in 1915 and was last canceled in 1942 because of World War II. No races were held between 1932 and 1938, or between 1920 and 1924, during railroad construction.
The committee considered an alternate date of Sept. 6, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced officials to cancel, Race Director Matias Saari said.
“Not having Mount Marathon in 2020 is a great disappointment and a decision the committee took very seriously,” Saari said in a post on the event’s website.
The committee considered “multiple scenarios” for holding the race this year, Saari said.
He added: “However, it could not adequately mitigate risk and safely adhere to State of Alaska and CDC large community events pandemic guidelines for spectators, participants and volunteers.”
Race officials distributed a survey to registered runners and 43% said they would participate in a race scheduled Sept. 6, while 38% said they would not participate and 19% were unsure.
“Primary reasons for staying away included safety and health concerns due to the pandemic, students returning to college, travel challenges, planned hunting trips and other schedule conflicts, and respecting the 4th of July race tradition,” officials said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.