The 2020 Queen Charlotte Relay will not go ahead.
For the first time, the iconic running event through the Marlborough Sounds has had to be cancelled.
The relay was scheduled for Saturday, September 19 but, given the high level of uncertainty as to what alert level the country will be in at that time the event has been called off.
Long-time organiser Les McKay said he had discussed with a number of prospective officials their concerns on Covid 19 “and the risks they would take [if the relay went ahead] and the fact we cannot manage their risk to the level required”.
“There is still a lot of work to do on [organising] the relay and this is now put into a very narrow time frame.
“Based on the information I have and looking at the history of Covid 19 levels, I strongly recommended to the race committee to cancel for 2020 … I am very aware of the disappointment levels in the community but one has to be realistic.
“On a personal level I am disappointed as this is the first time the relay has had to be cancelled and this was my last one as organiser. Bring on 2021.”
The long-standing Queen Charlotte Relay began in 1982 and has been contested annually without a break. The course has had only minor changes over time, with teams coming from all over New Zealand to compete and have a fun day.
The event is a five-person relay starting at Waitohi Domain, Picton and finishing in Havelock outside the Havelock Hotel. The relay was for runners only until 2002 when a social walkers’ grade was introduced.