BUDAPEST: A total of 5,600 runners from some 600 countries took part in Sunday’s Budapest Wizz Half Marathon, a fraction of the tens of thousand participants usually taking the scenic route.
“As a result of the increase in the number of C-19 cases in Hungary, the Hungarian Government has introduced entry restrictions that make it now impossible for foreigners to enter Hungary. Foreigners will only be allowed to enter Hungary in the case that it is highly necessary,” the organizers notified participants.
Organizers BSI (Budapest Sport Office) offered a special virtual race for those who cannot be at the race in person: “Run anywhere in the world, and anytime between September 2 and September 8, submit your result and get the same Finishers Medal, technical Event T-Shirt and the Wizz Air 20 euros value voucher shipped right to You!”
The event was held with strict safety rules in order to preserve the health of the runners, such as compulsory wearing of masks in the start and change zones, as well as the race center. There was a body temperature check before giving the start numbers.
The start of the race was done in smaller groups of a few hundred people, as opposed to the usual big launch of several thousand.
Finishers got their running medal in their hand, not on their neck.
There was no shower on site, and people were asked to leave the scene as soon as possible after reaching the finish line.
There were also many hand sanitizing points and people were asked to keep two meters distance from one another.
The Budapest marathons and half marathons are sightseeing running tour events: world heritage sites are present along the course, bridges across the Danube, Gellert Hill, Buda Castle, the Parliament of Budapest, Margaret Island, and other scenic spots.
Since the running event usually draws more than 60,000 people including family members, the city council of Budapest has limited the number of major running events to three per year, in order to cause less disturbances in the traffic of the Hungarian capital.