'Incredibly disappointing': Motatapu race cancelled

The event attracts thousands of entrants each year. Photo: ODT files
The event attracts thousands of entrants each year. Photo: ODT files
Otago's annual Motatapu race has been cancelled in the wake of the change of alert levels in New Zealand.

In a statement today the race owners said they and senior management had been assessing the situation since the announcement on the alert levels by the Prime Minister last night.

Auckland has moved to level 3 lockdown for a week, while the rest of the country is in level 2 for the same period.

Motatapu Events Ltd directors Gemma Peskett and Craig Gallagher said the team had made "the incredibly disappointing decision to cancel the 2021 event", scheduled for Saturday, March 6.

"Our competitors are our top priority and their health and wellbeing has been the number one factor in this decision. We realise that this decision will affect all our athletes who have put in countless hours training and appreciate and share their disappointment.

"We want to be transparent in the reasonings behind this decision, so our loyal fans can understand why we have had to make this hard call."

The pair said they had investigated running the event with groups of 100, but found it was not feasible across the four different courses and their convergence to make sure those groups did not mix.

"We would need to remove all aid stations and this compromises athletes safety and thus our safety management system. We have a responsibility to manage the safety of everyone out on our race course, including our medics, volunteers and staff, as well as competitors."

They said postponement was not financially viable.

"Our longstanding COVID policy for cancellation at this point has been a 25% refund, but we have been working through the budgets and with our contractors and providers over the past hours to try and reduce costs. We are endeavouring to give back as much as we can to our participants.

"We will be offering a 60% refund or a full transfer to 2022 event, which will be on the 5th of March 2022.

"Instructions will be sent to athletes in the coming days on how we will process the refunds and transfers so please bear with us as we work through those details." 

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