BEND, Oregon (AP) — A popular multi-sport racing event in central Oregon that draws thousands of competitors from around the region has been canceled.

The Pole Pedal Paddle scheduled for May 16 was canceled Friday due to the coronavirus.

“We knew that the responsible and prudent thing to do for the community was to cancel the event,” said PPP Race Director Molly Cogswell-Kelley, calling the decision “beyond devastating.”

The event draws upwards of 3,000 participants, about half from outside central Oregon, and is a fundraiser for Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation.

Individuals and teams race from the ski area at Mount Bachelor to the town of Bend about 20 miles (32 kilometers) away using alpine skiing, nordic skiing, road cycling, running, paddling and sprinting. Hundreds of spectators typically jam the finishing area in a Bend.

The May 16 event would have been the 44th annual Pole Pedal Paddle.


“We would never jeopardize the health of this community or our volunteers and racers,” Cogswell-Kelley said.

Oregon has 999 confirmed cases of the virus and 26 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally on Sunday afternoon.

The coronavirus mainly is spread through coughs and sneezes. For most people, it 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.