A MAJOR marathon has been pushed back for a third time after organisers said it had become clear it would "not be possible" for the run to be held next spring.

The Brighton Marathon Weekend will now be held between September 10 and September 12, 17 months after the event was originally scheduled to take place.

The reason for the second postponement is the rising coronavirus infection rate in the UK, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying more stringent lockdown restrictions introduced in September to stop the resurgence of the disease could remain in place for six months.

The Argus:

While the further delay of the popular race will disappoint many runners looking to chase new personal bests on Brighton and Hove's notoriously fast and flat route, event director Tim Naylor warned the further postponement of the marathon would have far-reaching impacts on the people of the city.

He said: "The Brighton Marathon Weekend extends far beyond our participants.

"The livelihoods of our staff, contractors, suppliers, hospitality industry and more, will be affected.

The Argus:

"When 20,000 people do not arrive in the city ready to run a race with their supporters, the ripple effect is great.

"From the bar staff in the hotels who do not pick up extra shifts to the taxi driver who does not take extra bookings.

"In 2019, it was estimated our event contributed £12 million to the local hospitality economy alone.

"Events are also a crucial lifeline for charities and fundraising.

"Since our first event in 2010 we have supported local and national charities in raising more than £50 million."

The Argus:

With Mr Johnson's long-range lockdown forecast, Mr Naylor said it was "very difficult for organisers to engage with the local authority to plan events and impossible for the local authority to give any commitment for the future".

As a result, Brighton Marathon Weekend organisers made the "extremely difficult" decision to push the event back to autumn next year.

Mr Naylor said: "While we are extremely disappointed that we could not hold our revised event this year as planned, we fully accept that it was the right decision.

"Furthermore, I feel that it is the right decision given the current and changing status of the pandemic, that we do not promise to deliver the Brighton Marathon Weekend in April 2021."

The Argus:

The Brighton Marathon organisers had also been due to hold a virtual, live event, Brighton Marathon: The Edit, on October 11.

In this, athletes would have followed a set course, starting and ending at Hove Lawns, but would go at different times of the day to ensure social distancing could be observed.

However, this was also cancelled due to the rising number of coronavirus cases, both nationally and locally.

Mr Naylor has now called for more support for the events industry after the coronavirus crisis put an immediate an unforeseen stop to runs, performances, festivals and more this year.

He said: "The UK events industry is worth over £80 billion to the UK economy employing over 600,000 people.

The Argus:

"We create some of the best events in the world, from Glastonbury to London Marathon, to our own events.

"It is now critical that we are all given the support and tools to come back even stronger in the not too distant future."

He also thanked loyal fans and followers of the event, which was first held in 2010, for their continued support during this difficult time.

He said: "I would like to thank all of our partners and charities for their support over the last six, difficult months and look forward to working with them closely and in more innovative ways over the next year.

The Argus:

"I’d also like to personally thank the thousands of runners and riders who are sticking with us from 2020 in to 2021. Your moral support has been vital. Your financial support, by deferring your entries or choosing to take place in The Edit, has been invaluable and we are extremely grateful.

"We are a small team, many of whom are yet to even experience working at the Brighton Marathon Weekend on event weekend. Your countless messages of support and encouragement have kept us all going during this extremely difficult time.

"Thank you for your unrelenting understanding and patience. We cannot wait to see you across the finish line in 2021."