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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Memorial Marathon still on as scheduled

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The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is still a go.

Even as events around the sports world have been cancelled or postponed in recent days amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, the premier distance running event in Oklahoma remains on the calendar for April 26. 

But officials with the race say they have not made any final decisions.

“We are monitoring the developments of COVID-19 very closely along with so many others who are holding large public events and working closely with city-county health officials and emergency management," race officials said in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation and make any announcements on our website, social media and local media.”

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is the top fundraiser for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. In this, the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the marathon is set to celebrate its 20th year.

The event includes a full marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 5K and kids marathon.

When the Memorial Marathon began, there were about 5,000 runners.

Now, the races draw nearly 25,000 runners.

Large crowds have been discouraged and even prohibited in some areas as health officials have worked to stem the coronavirus outbreak. No measures have been mandated by government officials in Oklahoma.

In other places, though, an attempt to limit large gatherings has prompted distance running events to cancel or move their dates. 

The Tokyo Marathon was the first major running event to make adjustments. Earlier this month, the marathon was held but limited to elite runners. Non-elite runners were given entry into the 2021 race.

Other races have made changes in recent days.

Friday, the Boston Marathon announced it was postponing until September. Arguably the biggest marathon in the United States, Boston has been run on Patriots' Day every year of its 124-year history. This year, it was slated for April 20.

Now, it will be September 14.

Soon after Boston's announcement, the London Marathon announced it would move from April 26 to Oct. 4.

The OKC Memorial Marathon has always been the Sunday after the April 19 anniversary of the bombing. But if the marathon would opt to move, it might have to consider a fall date. That's because a marathon any later in the spring in Oklahoma may encounter hot and humid conditions that would put runners at risk. 

A move to the fall would present other challenges, including clashing with Oklahoma's other big distance race, the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa. That event is Nov. 22.


Related Photos
A second wave of runners start the  Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 28, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

A second wave of runners start the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 28, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-06d5e4e9f78855a70834a89a837a2656.jpg" alt="Photo - A second wave of runners start the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 28, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="A second wave of runners start the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 28, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>A second wave of runners start the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 28, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›

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