The Great Limerick Run has become the latest and biggest event to fall victim to the coronavirus.
Organiser John Cleary has confirmed this Thursday morning that the event, which normally draws over 10,000 runners to its three races, as well as tens of thousands more spectators, has been shelved until October.
It was scheduled to take place across the Bank Holiday weekend, as part of Riverfest between May 1 and May 4.
Mr Cleary told the Limerick Leader that the children's fun run will be rescheduled to Saturday, October 3, with the marathon, mini-marathon and six mile run set for the following day, Sunday, October 4.
He said the decision was taken following consultation with the health authorities and is fully supported by all partners involved, from sponsors to regional stakeholders.
❗️❗️ EVENT RESCHEDULED ❗️❗️ With the increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 we have made the decision, together with the event partners and local authorities, to reschedule this year's event to Sunday, October 4th. Visit https://t.co/nGGkAEObB7 for more information pic.twitter.com/d8ZiL08GZV— RegeneronLimerickRun (@RGreatLimRun) March 12, 2020
“We did not take this decision lightly but have no doubt that it is the appropriate thing to do. Public health must come first. The health of the 14,000 participants and the thousands of others who come to Limerick over the May Bank Holiday weekend to enjoy these great events on the Saturday and Sunday is our primary concern in making this decision," he added.
“We now fix our thoughts on October 3rd and 4th next when we will be at the starting line for the 2020 Regeneron Great Limerick Run and the Bon Secours Hospital Limerick Run for Fun. The sense of anticipation and excitement from participants for the event will be heightened by the wait. We look forward to its success and a significant final quarter economic boost for Limerick,” he said.
Niall O’Leary, vice president and site head of keynote sponsor Regeneron Raheen, said: "The decision to reschedule the event is fully supported by Regeneron. The safety of all spectators and participants is of the utmost importance to us. As the proud sponsor of the Regeneron Great Limerick Run, we want all involved to have the best and most memorable race experience. We look forward to hosting a great event in Limerick this October."
The news of the postponement will come as a blow to traders, who normally enjoy a huge economic boost over the May Bank Holiday weekend. However, with the coronavirus outbreak showing no signs of slowing, it's likely it will not be the last big event to fall victim to cancellation.
Meanwhile, it's also emerged that production at Troy Studios has been shut down for a month. Apple's Foundation was being filmed in the Castletroy facility.
A full statement on the postponement of the Great Limerick Run is expected in the next few minutes.
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