The 9 Dragons ultramarathon, due to take place on February 1 and 2, has been cancelled as the coronavirus continues to spread across China. Hong Kong has invoked a number of emergency actions, and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has shut down its facilities.
“Based on these conversations and the recent announcement of the closure of all LCSD facilities, we no longer have access to the 50 mile finish/50km start line and also unable to access certain checkpoints which require WSD (Water Supplies Department) gate access,” a 9 Dragons Facebook post read.
The race was due to start at midnight on Friday with a 50-mile (80km) race, with a 50km race on Sunday. Competitors could have run one, the other, or both distances, known as the 50/50. For the first time, the organisers had also introduced shorter races – 22km, 10km and a kids’ race. The 50/50 is considered one of the hardest trail races in Hong Kong because it links all the steepest staircases.
“We feel that we cannot organise this years’ race in an environment that is first of all safe but also guarantees that you all have a good racing experience,” the Facebook post read.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor announced a series of measures to cut travel from mainland China, including reducing the number of visas issued to mainland travellers and the number of flights. The number of confirmed infections is close to 6,000 and the death toll was 132 as of January 29.