I.In a ten-minute YouTube video, Jo Schindler, race director of the marathon, tries to encourage understanding for the decision. It is simply not possible to offer such a large event in the usual quality if no planning security is guaranteed. It takes many weeks to run a marathon of this size. “In the current situation, the event is not calculable for us, because currently nobody knows what the legal situation will be on the day of the event.” Less than three months before the race weekend, however, a clear planning basis is required.
After the cancellation last year, the organization team started optimistically into the 2021 running season. “We were full of joy to finally be able to welcome runners again in the festival hall,” says Schindler. “Unfortunately, the anticipation is not fulfilled.”
Protect the brand of the Frankfurt Marathon
For a long time, the team thought about having the marathon take place in a different setting. “We ran through different models,” says Schindler. For example, a smaller starting field was discussed. In the end, the team decided against such a solution. Economic reasons played a role, said the race director. “The Frankfurt Marathon should also remain a brand,” says Schindler. An event where amateur athletes and professional runners take part. A race that ends with the finish in the festival hall.
There was heated discussion about the last few meters of the more than 42-kilometer route, says Schindler. Because the “Gudd Stubb”, as the festival hall is also called, is now covered. The rules for “indoor sports” are even stricter than those for outdoor events. So forego the entrance to the festival hall that is typical of the Frankfurt Marathon? That was out of the question for the organizers. “It’s like booking a flight to Mauritius and landing on Mallorca.”
Schindler and his team of eight are hoping for a new start in 2022. The runners, many of whom have waived their entry fee after being canceled last year and postponed their registration to 2021, were informed of the cancellation by email on Wednesday morning. You will again have the opportunity to take your starting place with you into the next year. “We hope that many will accept the voucher,” says Schindler. If a majority of the athletes were to ask for the entry fee back, “that could pull the rug out from under our feet”.