Organisers of a popular running event have taken the “tough decision” to postpone it until 2022 due to Covid-19.
The organisers of Run Balmoral have announced the road and trail races, which were originally scheduled to take place next April, will be postponed to the following year.
It comes after this year’s event was also called off due to the Covid-19 crisis.
In a statement, Run Balmoral chair James Knowles said organisers had suffered a “significant loss” this year and could not afford to be in the same situation come 2021.
He said: “It was a tough decision to take and one we haven’t made lightly. But there is still so much uncertainty over how the coronavirus might develop over the winter months and how that might lead to a continuation of restrictions on large participation sporting events, and we felt unable to plan ahead with any confidence.
“Every year we need to commit to significant expenditure well in advance of the races including setting up and maintaining online registration systems, buying medals and t-shirts and ordering equipment.
“We suffered a significant loss this year and simply cannot afford for a similar situation to develop in 2021 as that would put the long-term survival of the event at risk.
“It would also be unfair on the thousands of runners who support our event every year if we had to cancel once again at short notice.
“Nor do we want to let down our sponsors, who have given us loyal support throughout, or the charities with whom we have worked so successfully with for many years.
“Runners who have already deferred their entries to 2021 will be offered the option of deferring again, until 2022, or getting a refund.”
James added that every option had been explored in a bid to put the races on.
He said: “The London marathon has, next year, moved from its traditional April date to a new one in October and the Manchester marathon has also shifted from Spring to Autumn.
“Unfortunately, that is not an option at Balmoral as the estate isn’t available at other times of the year.
“Other running events are planning to go ahead with significantly scaled-down numbers of competitors to meet physical distancing rules, and with no spectators allowed.
“At the moment there is a limit of 200 participants, including officials, at events. I’m afraid that wouldn’t be a viable number at Balmoral.”
Councillor Peter Argyle, who represents Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, said: “Obviously it’s disappointing but I can understand why the decision has been made.
“Run Balmoral is just another victim of this dreadful pandemic and it is a real shame.”
Councillor Geva Blackett, who represents Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, said: “So much planning goes into these events so it is disappointing that the event has had to be cancelled because the virus is not under control.
“It is sad for the area but it is probably better to make the decision now and people’s health has to come first.”
The 2022 Run Balmoral event is scheduled to take place from April 23 to April 24.