TITLE: 12th annual ‘Charleston Marathon’ cancelled due to rise in COVID-19 cases

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – With just over a week until the Charleston Marathon was scheduled to take place, organizers say they just couldn’t move forward safely given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Months of training down the drain for many runners across the nation who were set to meet in the Lowcountry for the Charleston Marathon on January 15th

“When I first found out the marathon was cancelled,” Paul Yates, a runner from Greenville, said. “I was shocked. You know, my wife messaged me, I thought it was a joke because we’ve been training for months.”

Just days before the race, organizers made the difficult decision to call it off, citing high COVID-19 rates, cutting into plans that had been in the works for months. 

“I had my flight booked,” Joni Shipley, a runner from Nashville, said. “A car rental, a hotel. Because I’m traveling from out of town, I obviously needed all of those things.”

“We literally rented a whole house on Airbnb,” Yates said. “We were going to have all my in-laws come over. So, it was going to be eight people basically and two kids; probably a couple dogs.”

Organizers say the race relies heavily on local first-responders, who are currently understaffed, and overwhelmed, amid the latest COVID surge.

“Upon reading the announcement,” Shipley said. “I do understand they have to do what they have to do. And with the staffing shortages of our emergency responders, that is definitely something that would affect the local and surrounding areas.”

But some runners feel cancelling the race until 2023 is a step too far.

“How do we know COVID is not going to be an issue then as well,” Yates said. “It’s still going to be around. We’re not going to eliminate it off the face of the earth. We have to figure out how can we enjoy activities, events, athleticism safely.”

Runners have been given two alternate options: run the race virtually, or receive credit for future races.