Bonn Participants can still start in the Virtual Bonn Marathon until 11 October. Each runner records his or her distance via app and enters their name in the leaderboard list.
Normally, the starting signal for the Bonn Marathon sounds early on a Sunday morning in April at the Koblenzer Tor. Thousands of pairs of runners' feet then set off on a circular route through the city. For this year's virtual version of the Deutsche Post Marathon, the starting signal was fired on the Münsterplatz in Bonn late on Friday morning – but only symbolically – because participants can determine their own start time in the coming days.
Until 11 October, each runner can record his or her chosen distance independently via app and it doesn't matter where and when the runners run. The result is then entered into the virtual leaderboard. In this way, the MMP Event offers an alternative to the classic Bonn Marathon, which was initially postponed to the alternative date of 18 October due to the coronavirus crisis, and was finally cancelled completely.
"I would like to see many runners taking part," said Birgit Schneider-Bönninger, the head of Bonn's Department of Sports and Culture, at the official start. "Bonn is a sports city for everyone – and the Bonn Marathon is the best example of this". By Friday morning, the app had already been downloaded more than 1,000 times. In addition to the two Bonn course classics, the half marathon and marathon, participants can now also run over five or ten kilometres. "We have deliberately chosen five and ten kilometres as well," explained Philipp Weber from the MMP Event. Even those who do not live in Bonn and the surrounding area can take part in the virtual run, and multiple participation is also possible.
This year's marathon season is difficult for hobby runners as well as for top athletes, due to the many race cancellations, and motivation to continue training must be kept up, despite the few races available. Lukas Hennes, young runner of the LAZ Puma Rhein-Sieg also finds the cancellation of the marathon a pity. Last year, he was third in the U18 class in the half marathon. "But it's a chance for people to run who otherwise don’t run in competitions," he says about the running alternative. Together with Luke Kelly and trainer Thomas Eickmann, he wants to integrate the virtual Bonn Marathon into his training – whether he does a ten-kilometre run or a half marathon will be decided according to his form.
As a replacement for the donation mat, which is usually laid out on the Münsterplatz during the marathon, Deutsche Post wants to donate two euros to the Bonn sports club for each successful participant. "We know that sports clubs are having a hard time at the moment," said Axel Breme from Deutsche Post.
Those who have already registered for the regular marathon can pick up their medal and participant shirt at the stand on Münsterplatz today, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Further information about the Virtual Deutsche Post Marathon is available on the internet at https://www.deutschepost-marathonbonn.de
(Original text, Sabrina Bauer; translation, John Chandler)