Organizers of the world’s biggest ultramarathon have canceled the event for the first time since World War II.
The Comrades Marathon which was due to take place in South Africa on June 14 has been added to the list of sporting events around the globe canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Comrade Marathon Association spokeswoman Cheryl Winn, the organizers had planned to postpone the race to later in the year “but alas with the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating and anticipated to peak in the coming months, there is no telling what is yet to come.”
The race, which is over 90 kilometers had 27,500 entries for this year’s event, making it the world’s most attended over a distance of more than a standard marathon.
It draws close to 400,000 spectators on the route that runs between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal province.
The race attracts participants from around the world, with athletes from South Africa, Russia, the U.S., Zimbabwe and the U.K. among the winners in the past decade.
While the Russian sisters Elena and Olesya Nurgalieva dominated the women’s event this century, with 10 first-place finishes between them, South African Bruce Fordyce’s haul of nine wins from 1981 to 1990 is still unbeaten.
The event was only officially opened up to women and people of all races in 1975.