RUNNERS who were planning to take part in Chester's half marathon or marathon events are being given a range of options on what to do next following the official cancellation of the 2020 races.

Active Leisure Events announced the Chester Half Marathon – which had originally been due to take place in May before being postponed until September – was being called off, along with the Chester Metric Marathon and Chester Marathon event in October.

It followed a statement from the organisers which said of the more than 3,500 entrants surveyed, more than two-thirds replied they would not feel comfortable taking part in a mass sporting event in 2020, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

For those who had planned to take part in the metric marathon or full marathon, full refunds are being offered along with the chance to defer their entry to the 2021 event on October 3.

Active Leisure said normally it does not offer place deferrals or full refunds, but due to the nature of the event's cancellation and the generosity of race sponsor MBNA, it was in a position to do so.

For Chester Half Marathon, the situation is a little different, as the event had already been postponed and a lot of preparation work had gone into organising the event for its original May date.

A statement on the website said: "The costs already incurred for planning the event, ordering the medals, shirts, hoodies and goody bag content for the originally scheduled race date in May, and further costs incurred for postponing the event, we are only able to offer a deferral at 50 per cent off the 2021 early bird race price.

"We are sorry that the deferral discount cannot be more."

Similarly, people can instead choose to have a 50 per cent refund on their Chester Half Marathon entry.

Alternatively, the event organisers are offering entrants to support the event by not requesting refunds, to help offset costs and support the future of the city's races, which also include the Chester 10K, which was held before lockdown began in March.

Half marathon entrants can also choose, instead, to run a virtual half marathon distance at any time until September 20, for which they will be rewarded with an event medal and T-shirt if they submit proof of their run to the organisers.

All entrants are being urged to make a decision by July 31. If they do not reply, their right to choose an option will be waived and their entry will be cancelled.

Speaking about the event cancellations earlier tis month, event organisers Chris Hulse, Andy White and Callum Shields said: "Please use this disappointing news as motivation for your next event. We certainly are!

"With the amount of new lockdown runners and the continued appetite for events within the running community, we’re anticipating that the post Covid-19 demand for running events will be greater than ever.

"We will use this time to bounce back and prepare for a complete season of 2021 running events and the 2021 Chester Triple.

"We hope you will all be able to join us next year for the 2021 Aldi Chester 10K on March 14, 2021 Essar Chester Half Marathon on May 16 and the 2021 MBNA Chester Marathon/Metric Marathon on October 3.

"We are looking forward to seeing you all cross our finish lines with the smiles, sense of achievement and celebrations that our events are renowned for."