Organisers of a one-off invitation-only elite marathon in Hamburg, where Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge is expected to run next month, have postponed the race to April 18.
Initially, the NN Running Team in conjunction with Global Sports Communication had scheduled the race for April 11, but had to postpone it by a week due to the deadly coronavirus.
"The NN Mission Marathon race in Hamburg will be postponed to April 18. Due to the current local Covid-19 situation, the organisation is also forced to find an alternative location for the race," read the statement.
World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge was set to take part in the race alongside former Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich from Uganda. Others who will run include Jonathan Korir, Laban Korir, Augustine Choge, Gladys Chesir and Ethiopia's Haven Hailu.
"The NN Mission Marathon in Hamburg will be postponed to April 18. Over the past months we have learned that we need to be flexible and stay positive. With this in mind, I thank everybody involved, keep working hard with positive minds to find a good alternative," posted Kipchoge on Twitter Wednesday.
Kipchoge is using the race as part of preparations ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games where he is set to defend his Marathon title.
In an earlier interview, he stated that his training has been going on well and is looking forward to run a race that is going to inspire the world at this hard time.
"I want to run a beautiful race to inspire the world which is in huge transition into the bright future after a long break due to the pandemic. It feels good to be back where I started my marathon career, it's the greatest memory in my life," he said.
Last week, the team released names of the pacemakers for the race led by Victor Chumo and Philemon Rono.
Other pacers include Philemon Kacheran, Gideon Kipketer, Noah Kipkemboi, Paul Pollock, Victor Kiplangat, Alex Kibarus, Jackson Kiprop, Moses Koech, Sylvester Kiptoo and Bernard Cheptoch.
The traditional annual Hamburg marathon, which was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, is scheduled to take place on September 12.