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Kuching Marathon 2020 races against virus pandemic, time

KUCHING: Organisers of the Kuching Marathon 2020 are closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation and hoping for the best.

Race director Liew Tang Chieh said Kuching Marathon Association (KMA) will make a decision latest in June whether to go ahead with it in conjunction with the annual Kuching Festival.

This year’s event is scheduled on August 16 (Sunday) and, at this point of time, KMA cannot confirm whether or not it will proceed.

It is sanctioned by the Malaysia Athletics Federation via the Sarawak Amateur Athletics Association and the federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, and supported by the State Ministry of Youth and Sports.

The international road race is recognised by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS).

“We have received a tremendous response to the event, with already 3,500 signing up for the run divided into various categories. In fact, we have suspended our online registration since March 14 until further notice.

“As the Kuching Marathon is three months away, we cannot make a hasty decision in view of the outbreak of the Covid-19 and that Kuching is still a red zone,” said Liew.

He revealed that organising the marathon would involve several parties including the National Crisis Preparedness And Response Centre, Sarawak Disaster Management Committee, State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Sarawak Health Department, Sarawak General Hospital, the Army, military medic, Police, MBKS, DBKU, Rela and volunteers.

“Medical personnel at SGH are now busily engaged in the daily battle against the Covid-19 disease and this is certainly not the right time to call them to come and discuss the organising of the marathon,” he pointed out.

“Organising the Kuching Marathon is not a simple matter because we need to take many things into consideration such as the legal and social responsibilities as we don’t want the runners to get infected with the Covid-19.

“We will meet the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture cum Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah before making any final decision on the race date,” added Liew.

He said the decision to host the Kuching Marathon would also depend on whether the Kuching City South Council (MBKS) will organise the Kuching Festival this year.

Asked on the proposal by some quarters for the runners to wear face masks during the race, Liew felt that this was rather impractical as it would cause breathing difficulties among the runners.

“Furthermore, wearing masks will not necessarily mean that the runners would not get infected by Covid-19. Moreover, Covid-19 patients could either be asymptomotic or with mild symptoms.

“Previously, our medic teams take care of the runners’ health condition during the race but now if we are to hold the run, we still have to worry about their health condition after the race as we do not want a new cluster of Covid-19 infections from participants of the Kuching Marathon,” he said.

As the majority of the registered runners are from Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei and with the Covid-19 pandemic worsening in Singapore and Indonesia, Liew said there was real cause for concern.

(Taken from The Borneo Post)