What does the coronavirus mean for runners?

In the past few weeks we have seen the coronavirus impacting the running community. The Tokyo Marathon was cancelled due to precautions taken because of the coronavirus. * edited to add MANY races have been cancelled. Here is a current ongoing list- Which running races and marathons have been canceled because of the coronavirus?

What does this mean for other marathons and running events and how are runners being impacted by the coronavirus? I am not a doctor, but thought I would write about some thoughts and obvious tips on what the future running events might look like.  woman running with a mask on

Should I travel to run a race during the coronavirus outbreak?

This decision is 100% yours. Talking to your doctor about potential risk is always a good idea. Looking for communications from the race and what their plans are is also important. Most importantly though is hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and warm water, sanitize, wipe down airplane area as well as hotel rooms.


While running the race, here are some recommendations: 

  • Don’t dip your hand into a bag of pretzels or oranges slices that people are handing out. This grosses me out coronavirus or not. If a spectators is handing out candy with a rubber glove on that is one thing, but a bunch of sweaty runners who blew snot rockets with their hands and all reaching into the same pretzel bag is beyond gross…and where the risk of coronavirus during a marathon is probably high.
  • After using a race course port-a-potty use sanitizer. A travel size bottle is probably a good thing to carry with you because most of the port-a-potties aren’t stocked with sanitizer.
  • Runners, avoid spitting and snot rocketing with runners close around you. Let’s keep our germs to ourselves please.

Remember that our best way to keep ourselves from getting sick is practicing good hand washing skills. Don’t leave a bathroom without washing. I heard that singing the happy birthday song twice is a good length of time of how long you should be washing with warm water and soap. Also, don’t be offended if people don’t want to shake hands. Maybe just wave high to each other. 

Are runners worried about running a race with a lot of people around and the chance of getting coronavirus?

I feel like runners are pretty determined to stick to their goals. If they set a goal of running a marathon, they will most likely want to show up and run the marathon regardless of virus outbreaks. Please remember though, if you are feeling sick in any way, don’t go run the race. Let’s keep everyone healthy. Coronavirus symptoms are very similar to the flu. So if you are having flu symptoms you shouldn’t be running a marathon either. 

Are major marathons going to cancel their races because of the coronavirus? 

The only one we have seen, so far, citing the coronavirus, is the Tokyo Marathon. * Edited after publish to these races have all also been cancelled:

Tokyo Marathon on March 1, restricted to elite runners.

Paris Half Marathon on March 1 postponed to Sept. 6.

Nagoya Women’s Marathon on March 8, restricted to elite runners.

Rome Half Marathon on March 8 canceled.

New Taipei City Marathon in Taiwan on March 15 canceled.

Suzhou Half Marathon in China on March 15 canceled.

Barcelona Marathon on March 15 postponed to Oct. 25.

Seoul Marathon on March 22 canceled.

Chongqing International Marathon in China on March 22 canceled.

Wuxi Marathon in China on March 22 canceled.

Rome Marathon on March 29 canceled.

Paris Marathon on April 5 postponed to Oct. 18.

Milan Marathon in Italy on April 5 postponed

Other races have also been cancelled, like the Run Local Shamrock Run in San Jose, CA due to a county mandated cancellation, that also includes any event over 1,000 people like the San Jose Sharks Games and concerts in the area. 

Could other major marathons cancel their races? Yes, it is possible, but only if they feel that it is a legitimate problem for the area. The same thing goes for large conferences, reunions, concerts, and major gatherings. The messaging I have seen from the upcoming major marathons is that the races are currently going as planned, but they will continue to monitor the situation. When booking your travel it is always a good ideas to check on cancellation policies if you need to alter your plans at all.


My opinion: Do we need to freak out and not run in crowds? Again, my opinion, no we don’t need to freak out and hold up in our houses. Wash your hands, be courteous about blowing your nose, and coughing. Living your life afraid is no way to live, so just use good judgement, consult with your doctor and practice good hygiene. 

Here are  some other posts you might like:

10 Things Every Runner Needs

10 Marathons That Have A Lottery Entry

10 Reasons Why You Should NOT Run A Marathon

10 Things NOT To Do At Your First Marathon


Want to come back to this? Pin it for later.

girl running with a mask