ORGANISERS behind this year's Chester Half Marathon have given runners plenty of advance notice to let them know this year's event, planned for May 17, has been postponed to September.

Like just about all sporting events planned over the next few months, the annual 13.1-mile race – which takes competitors out from Chester towards Saughall before returning to the heart of the city over the finish line – has been rescheduled until later in the year due to coronavirus concerns.

Government advice issued at the start of this week (Monday, March 16) said emergency service personnel would be prioritised in dealing with the rising number of coronavirus cases, rather than be deployed to sporting events.

A statement from Active Leisure released today (Wednesday, March 18) said: "During these challenging times, the health and wellbeing of our runners, volunteers, officials, spectators and the general public are of paramount importance to us.

"As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Essar Chester Half Marathon is being postponed to September 20.

"We are disappointed to have to make this decision and know how disappointing this news will be for our runners.

"We are thankful for the support of our local council, medical team and key suppliers who have enabled us to postpone the event rather than cancel."

Organisers say all runners currently entered into the 2020 Essar Chester Half Marathon will automatically be transferred to the new race day.

If runners cannot make the rescheduled date, or do not wish to take part any more, they can transfer their place to somebody else at no additional cost, via the confirmation email they received when they entered, or through Nifty Entries.

Alternatively, they can complete a 'virtual half marathon' by going the equivalent distance during May and showing evidence via their Strava, Garmin or similar app to the organisers. Those choosing this option are advised not to run the race route as the roads will not be closed during this time.

If they complete it, they will receive a medal and T-shirt.

The organisers added that, as per their terms and conditions, they are unable to accept refunds or race entry deferrals for 2021.

The Chester Marathon and Metric Marathon races are still scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 4 – the same date as the rescheduled London Marathon.

As a gesture, Active Leisure says those who choose to complete the London Marathon on that day and submit evidence they have completed the race to them can still receive a Chester Marathon T-shirt, medal, and (if they have completed the Chester 10k and the Chester Half Marathon) the triple medal as well.