BERLIN: Organisers of a one-off invitation-only elite marathon in Hamburg, where Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge is expected to run next month, need to find a new location because of Covid-19 restrictions in the city, they said Wednesday.

After a tightening of lockdown restrictions in Hamburg, organisers must find an alternative venue for the race, tagged “the fastest way to Tokyo”, which was originally due to be held in the city centre.

More than 70 elite runners hope to use the marathon -- a distance of 42.2 km or 26.2 miles — to secure qualification for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Organisers have delayed the race by a week until April 18 as they look at other options.

A race spokeswoman told AFP organisers are looking at potential venues further afield, “but still inside Germany” and confirmed world record holder Kipchoge is expected to race. In a statement, the 36-year-old Kenyan urged the organisers to “keep working hard... to find a good alternative for us as athletes.

“This race is really important, it is a hugely positive thing for the fans to see that life continues during this pandemic,” added Kipchoge, who set the men’s marathon world record in Berlin in 2018.

The traditional annual Hamburg marathon, which was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, is scheduled to take place on Sept 12.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2021

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