The Dublin Marathon has been cancelled for the second year in a row

·2-min read
Photo credit: Cody Glenn - Getty Images
Photo credit: Cody Glenn - Getty Images

The Dublin Marathon has been cancelled for the second year in a row, organisers announced yesterday.

Organisers said uncertainty over event planning owing to Covid-19 concerns were responsible for the cancellation of the race, which had been scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 24. Runners can still take part in the Virtual Dublin Marathon over the same bank holiday weekend.

In May, organisers said they were ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the race could go ahead as planned, although they added they would make the final decision ‘as late as possible’. But a decision was finally made this week, with just over three months to go.

Explaining the decision to cancel, Race Director Jim Aughney 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.’

He 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 KBC 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.’

The decision to cancel has been met with criticism from some quarters. Dr Jack Lambert, an expert in infectious diseases at University College Dublin, told The Times that risk could be avoided by taking reasonable precautions: ‘If it were me I would say ,“Yes, go ahead with the marathon, make sure your runners are vaccinated, make sure they have reasonable precautions leading up to the marathon and make sure the spectators are wearing masks,”’ he said.

‘That’s what’s called “safely living with Covid”,’ he added. ‘The Irish plan is to make no decisions about anything and delay, delay, delay.’

Irish Senator Malcolm Byrne said the decision was ‘disappointing but understandable’. ‘I’ve run every Dublin marathon since 2007 and the organisers have always put runners’ health and safety first, so I can understand the action,’ he said.

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As of Tuesday, July 6, 54.39 per cent of the Irish population had received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, compared with 67.05 per cent in the United Kingdom. But Paul Reid, chief executive of Ireland’s Health Service Executive, said recently that he expects all adults to be fully vaccinated by September.

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