COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of yet another mass participation event, with the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS) today confirming that this year's Athens Marathon will not go ahead.
Racing had been scheduled for the weekend of November 7 and 8, under a health protocol enabling the event to be split into two individual races of 5,000 runners each.
The mounting threat to health posed by the pandemic, which has now taken the lives of more than a million people worldwide, has ultimately defeated the best efforts of organisers to ensure that the race could be run, however.
SEGAS said that a "Special Edition Virtual Race" would go ahead, with details announced in coming days.
Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the 2020 road-running season, although the 40th London Marathon will be staged as an elite race with a contemporaneous virtual race this coming Sunday (October 4).
SEGAS said that "any possible effort" had been made in its discussions with Greek health authorities.
Nevertheless: "Even by following a very strict manual of rules and regulations, staging only the marathon race and not the shorter races, reducing the number of participants and having all participants go through a COVID-19 test before the race, at the expense of our federation", it was judged that the absolute safety of runners could not be guaranteed.
"Taking under consideration all the above, we are extremely sorry to announce today that the 2020 Athens Marathon will not be held," it said.
The Federation added that registered runners would be contacted via email by the Organising Committee in coming days offering them the option of deferring their registration for a year or having their entry fee refunded.
SEGAS said it was "very optimistic" that "we will all run together in our races in 2021".
The year is an important landmark for Greece, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution.