Ebola Outbreak Forces Organizers To Postpone Liberia Marathon

A digital illustration of the Ebola virus, which is spreading through Africa. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

More than 600 people have died in the current outbreak, which began earlier this year in Africa.

The Liberia Marathon, which was due to take place Aug. 31 in the West African nation, has been postponed until January because of the Ebola virus outbreak.

Organizers announced the news in a statement posted to the race website.

“The rising number of confirmed Ebola related deaths and infections has reached unacceptable levels, and the risk to the marathon participants is too high,” race director Eunice Dahn said. “This postponement will allow time to deal completely with the crisis and eliminate any risk to participants of the marathon.”

The current outbreak began in nearby Guinea earlier this year and has since spread to other African countries, including Liberia and Sierra Leone. Several others have taken precautionary measures by canceling flights. Liberia closed the majority of its border crossings last week as it tries to stop the spread of the deadly virus even further.

According to a July 28 update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 800 confirmed cases of Ebola and another 400 suspected cases. The number of deaths is approaching 700.

“We have closely monitored the increase and spread of the Ebola virus, and the tragic loss of life in Liberia and neighboring countries,” Dahn said. “We are saddened by all the lives lost and extend our deepest sympathies to the victim’s families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

“The safety of runners and staff is our first priority. Everyone associated with the event can rest assured that this postponement will not detract from the impact and value of the event, but protect that value and all involved.”

The 2014 edition of the race, which includes a 10K and a marathon, will be contested Jan. 25, 2015.

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