Organisers ‘devastated’ by need to cancel

All those hours spent pounding the pavement in preparation for the Dunedin Marathon this year will go unrewarded.

Organisers yesterday made the difficult decision to cancel the event for a second year in a row.

The decision will not have caught many off guard.

The re-emergence of Covid-19 in the community always meant that was the likely outcome.

The event had already been postponed from September 12 to November 7.

Dunedin Marathon organisers Maria Sleeman and Stu McCormack show off some advertising which will...
Dunedin Marathon organisers Maria Sleeman and Stu McCormack show off some advertising which will not be needed as the event has been cancelled. The signs are near Emerson’s Brewery where the race was scheduled to finish. PHOTO GREGOR RICHARDSON
Organiser Maria Sleeman said everyone involved in organising the event was ‘‘pretty devastated’’.

‘‘We’ve planned one and a-half marathons this year with the postponement but what can you do?’’ she said.

‘‘We have to look at what is happening out there and be realistic.’’

What is happening out there is the Dunedin remains in Covid-19 Alert Level 2 and that level would need to drop before the event could be staged safely.

‘‘We just didn’t want all the sponsors and entrants and all the people that have been supporting us to be stuck in limbo any longer, so we had to make the hard decision.’’

‘‘When we postponed it the first time we looked at all the possible dates, and if we didn’t hold it in November we would have had to look at next year because there was too many other [events].

‘‘We did consider early next year but with the New Zealand Masters Games on and the [World Cup] cricket all on and centred around the Logan Park area where our event is as well, we just didn’t think it was viable.

‘‘We’re really sad. There has been a lot of hard work gone into this year’s event.’’

Sleeman did not want to think about all the hours of work she and others had essentially wasted.

‘‘I couldn’t begin to contemplate that, sorry. But it has been a lot.’’

The hard decision to cancel was easy in some respects. To carry on planning an event which looked increasingly unlikely to take place would have incurred more costs.

All entries will automatically roll over to the 2022 Dunedin Marathon which is planned for September 11. However, a 75% refund can be claimed instead.

‘‘There has been a bit of cost which is why there is a 75% refund. We were just at the stage of deciding if we should print race numbers which would have been another cost and why we’ve decided enough is enough.’’

There were about 1200 registered competitors. About 200 of them pulled out when the event was postponed.

Sleeman said she had not had any negative feedback from people angry about not getting a full refund but said the news was still fresh.

Planning for next year has already commenced.


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