Prague races cancelled, regional races go on with new dates at RunCzech

 

Dear runners, dear friends,

This year 2020 is a year we will all remember. Each one of us had our plans, our goals, our dreams. Our new year’s resolutions. For personal accomplishments. For business success. For sport achievements.

We were ready with our races. Everyone was in place. Our team. Our volunteers. Our partners and suppliers. Everything was ordered and most of it in our warehouse. And then? COVID19.

All of this was bad news for us, of course. But the runners, those are the people that our hearts break for. Runners competing for the first time. Runners who hoped to keep their streak alive. Elite runners who hoped that Prague would be their chance to set another record.

We hoped against hope that autumn would be better. But it was not to be.

Today, even if that situation is getting better, we will not be allowed to organise events with large participation in the centre of Prague. So after carefully scrutinizing all possible scenarios and consulting with competent institutions, we have to announce that these conditions force us to cancel Prague races in 2020. The Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon (the SuperHalfs first edition), the Volkswagen Prague Marathon and the Birell Prague Grand Prix. All runners registered for these races will have the option to transfer their entries to 2021 or 2022 with no additional costs.

The decision taken is extremely difficult for us. But we take comfort knowing that Czech government officials had the foresight and the wisdom to take action designed to keep us safe. We take comfort knowing that our health care professionals were tireless and brilliant in helping to treat the virus. We take comfort knowing that when it hurts this bad we must be doing something good. And we take comfort knowing that we will run again.

Indeed, our EuroHeroes races, the Mattoni Half Marathons in Karlovy Vary, Ceske Budejovice, Olomouc, Usti nad Labem, as well as the Mattoni Liberec Nature Run are all still on. If the situation allows, their size should make it possible for us to host them within mandated crowd-size limits. And we want so badly to see everyone there. To know that the sport is still alive. To see the joy.

In the meantime we have prepared a special free summer challenge run, “Česko běží dál” (The Czech Republic keeps on running) as a way of saying thank you for runners’ loyalty and support over the years, and keeping the Czech Republic running. We are also staging new running events at unique venues, like airport runways or brewery premises! All in compliance with crowd size restrictions.

We don’t know for sure what challenges lie ahead. We don’t quite know where the finish line is in terms of dealing with the uncertainties we’re currently facing. What we do know is that dealing with COVID will be a marathon, not a sprint. Fortunately, the qualities you develop as a distance runner are just what we need to get through this: endurance, mental toughness, discipline and determination.

Very often, over the course of our 27-year history, when we’ve faced adversity, we’ve looked for inspiration from our guiding spirit, Emil Zatopek. A man who famously said that when you feel like you can’t go on, “go faster.”

We look forward to seeing you all at the starting gate very soon.

Carlo Capalbo

President of the RunCzech organising committee