The Gaoligong by UTMB race has been postponed as the coronavirus continues to spread across China. The race was due to take place from March 21 to 23, in Yunnan, China.

The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), which takes place in Chamonix, France, in August, is one of the most famous and hotly contested running festivals in the world. It has been expanding by putting on races bearing the “by UTMB” brand around the world, including in China, Oman and in South America. In Gaoligong, there are three race distances – 165km, 135km, 55km and 35km.

“We are very sorry to announce that Gaoligong by UTMB 2020 has been postponed,” a Facebook post by the race organisers said.

“We are currently in talks with the local authorities and will make a detailed announcement on Monday, January 27th. Thank you for your patience and understanding at this very difficult time.”

The coronavirus started in Wuhan, Hubei province, and has spread across China. Around 2,500 have been infected and 80 people have died. It is believed that a food market that stocked wild animals was the source of the disease.

The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon has been cancelled this year as well, which runners have said is “frustrating, but understandable”.

Shen Jiasheng wins Gaoligong by UTMB in 2018. Photo: Gaoligong by UTMB

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor declared the virus an emergency, invoking a number of measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including closing schools.