2020 Caribou Marathon canceled
CARIBOU, Maine — The Caribou Marathon, a Boston Marathon qualifying event that would have celebrated its fifth anniversary this year, has been canceled due to uncertainties surrounding future restrictions and health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Caribou Marketing and Events Coordinator Christina Kane-Gibson said she was genuinely saddened that the decision had to be made, but that it’s not possible to plan for the September event with so many unknown variables with state restrictions and with the virus itself.
“I love being out there with the community and doing good things for the community,” she said. “Plus, this was our fifth year, and we had some extra plans in the works to make it even more memorable, and to not be able to do that is really hard.”
She said a great deal of thought went into the cancellation, and that it’s not just about limited gathering sizes, but also the safety of residents and logistics with sponsorships.
“Runner registrations are down, travel restrictions and event gathering limitations are in place and we do not feel comfortable seeking monetary sponsorships from businesses who are trying to get back on track,” according to a press release.
“Our team, including Caribou Parks & Recreation, SUB5 Racing, CompetitorME and Platinum Sponsors Cary Medical Center & Pines Health Services, feel that we cannot safely host a 2020 race that will meet the professional standard that you have come to expect from Caribou. Furthermore, safeguarding the health and well-being of the community, staff, volunteers, sponsors and runners will always remain our top priority.”
Kane-Gibson said the events’ two platinum sponsors played a significant role in helping the city make the decision, adding that as community health organizations they “absolutely know what’s best for health and the community.”
And while the event is outdoors, Kane-Gibson said it could still conflict with Maine CDC guidelines.
“People are breathing out heavier,” she said. “They start out in a huge group and usually don’t separate out until a few miles into the race.”
On a positive note, Kane-Gibson said the city is pleased to announce that next year’s race, scheduled for Sept. 18 and 19, 2021, will be bigger and better than it has ever been and feature some “unique surprises.”
Runners currently signed up for the 2020 marathon will receive an email from CompetitorME and RunSignup including deferment or refund options. Runners who choose to roll their registration over to the 2021 Marathon will receive free entry into a new 5K event planned to coincide with the Kids Race on Sept. 18, 2021.
The new 5K will be in downtown Caribou and feature live music, food and additional activities, similar to the city’s Thursdays on Sweden event, Kane-Gibson said.
“I just hope people aren’t too upset,” she said. “I think I have enough upset feelings for all of us. It’s really disappointing when we can’t get together as a community. I think people miss it, and I miss seeing people out at events hanging out and coming together as a community. It’s important to do that, and we haven’t been able to.
“And for me to be the bearer of more bad news is a really hard thing to do. I really have genuine sadness about this announcement. All we can do is make next year bigger and better to make up for it.”