MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Modesto Marathon is one of a handful of statewide events that were forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 national emergency.
“Definitely disappointed, but understandable, considering the circumstances of our state right now,” Shadow Chase Training coach Laura Nance said.
The marathon’s race director Vickie Chu-Hermis told FOX40 over the phone that organizers had no choice but to cancel the city’s 2020 marathon, an event that draws thousands of runners each year.
“When you have to make that final decision, it’s kinda heart wrenching,” Chu-Hermis said.
Chu-Hermis said they, unfortunately, cannot issue refunds, since most of the money has been spent on deposits, t-shirts and medals.
“So there’s a lot of costs that are paid upfront,” she said.
Participants will be able to run virtually and they’ll be able to pick up their swag, as well as enter for free in next year’s marathon.
“We’re giving free deferrals to our 2021 event,” Chu-Hermis said.
Chu-Hermis added that what made the decision especially saddening is that the marathon is also a fundraiser for Teens Run Modesto.
Last year, the marathon donated $100,000 to the group.
“It will impact next year because we are deferring, so the proceeds are going to be less next year,” Chu-Hermis said.
Tommy Jacobs is a mentor to several kids in Teen Run Modesto.
“But what really breaks my heart are the kids,” Jacobs said. “They worked their butts off for so long, training. Five months.”
While disappointed, Jacobs says he is determined to allow the young runners a chance to race, an opportunity to cross their own finish line.
“I told the kids, ‘You’re strong and we’re gonna make it happen and it just, you can’t give up,’” he said.