Organisers of Williams BMW Rochdale Half Marathon, 10K & Fun Run have announced this year's event, due to take place on Sunday, 4 October 2020, has been cancelled.
The event usually attracts over 1,300 runners from across the north of England and big crowds but after confirming in June 2020 they were doing all they could to go ahead, race director Nick Barton has now confirmed that it's not going to be possible:
"We were really hoping to be able to go ahead, but due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, we've realised that unfortunately it is just no longer possible. We've been carefully considering the latest advice from Runbritain and UK Athletics regarding the return of road races and have come to the conclusion that despite being able to address many of the requirements, there are some issues that we would be unable to resolve in the time remaining, meaning we cannot implement all the required COVID-safe precautions."
Road and multi-terrain racing in the UK has been suspended since March 2020 with Runbritain, one of the main race licensing bodies in the UK, not issuing new licences for races until this month.
'Safety is always the priority'
Nick added that issues around the Rochdale routes, marshalling and first aid had not been possible to resolve:
"Our routes have numerous points that would make the required social distancing nearly impossible. We've also identified risks around course marshals and chip timings due to the waved starts and relay formats that would be needed. On top of these there would be difficulties recruiting and training the staff needed to implement significant extra measures on race day. We have a responsibility to look after the wellbeing of our organising team, spectators, our sponsor and partners too which we take very seriously. I know this is a huge disappointment for everyone involved."
The event will return on Sunday, 3 October 2021 and all entries will automatically be transferred to the new date.
Any entrant who would like a refund should email
firstname.lastname@example.org before Monday, 24 August 2020.
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture at Rochdale Borough Council said:
"Safety is always the priority and we would never do anything to compromise the excellent reputation of this well-established event. In the current circumstances I know our decision won't come as a surprise to many but it is still very disappointing. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the best to you and your families for the months to come, keep fit and well and we will see you back on the start line on Sunday 3 October 2021."
The annual event is co-ordinated by Rochdale Harriers, Middleton Harriers and Rochdale Triathlon Club supported by Rochdale Borough Council.