The 2020 Galaxy Entertainment Macao International Marathon takes place on Sunday and all marathon participants will need to take the nucleic acid test (NAT) by today to ensure a COVID-19 free environment, Sports Bureau (ID) President Pun Wing Weng Kun told reporters Thursday.
This is the 39th year that the local marathon has been organised.
Pun made the remarks on the sidelines of a press conference about the event at the Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in Taipa.
The marathon is co-organised by the Sports Bureau and the General Association of Athletics of Macau. It is title-sponsored by the Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG).
The Sports Bureau said in an announcement last Saturday that participants have to take the NAT prior to the event. When Pun was asked on Thursday whether this announcement came at the last minute, Pun said that there was enough time for participants to take the test, noting that there are 12,000 marathoners this year and around half of them had already taken the test before entering Macao, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
According to Pun, the runners are from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao – there are no runners from foreign countries joining the marathon this time. He said that the Hong Kong runners have already undergone the mandatory 14-day quarantine. He added that the Sports Bureau didn’t invite any “special guests” (top athletes) to take part in this year’s marathon because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Thursday’s press conference, Pun also said that the organisation of this year’s event faced a lot of challenges due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, adding that his bureau had started planning for the event last year. He pointed out that this year’s competition will run past many of the city’s landmarks including over the Governor Nobre de Carvalho Bridge (popularly known as the “old bridge”), A-Ma Temple and returning to the starting point at the Olympic Sports Centre Stadium over Sai Van Bridge. He also said he hoped that the participants could “challenge themselves” and enjoy the event.
A statement provided by the organisers during Thursday’s press conference reminded participants to prepare for the marathon by practising and get enough rest. The statement also said that there will be water and sponge stations along the route for participants and food stations for those doing the full marathon, adding that the participants are not allowed to bring their own drink or food for the race.
According to the statement, starting on Sunday at 4 am the whole Governor Nobre de Carvalho Bridge and one half of Sai Van Bridge (Taipa to Macao) will be closed for the marathon. The statement urged residents to use the Friendship Bridge between 4 am and 9:30 am on Sunday.
The statement also said that participants who have not yet had their NAT can still make an appointment on app.ssm.gov.mo/marathonrnabook. The testing sites are Taipa Ferry Terminal and Macau Forum from 10 am to 7 pm and 9 am to 6 pm today respectively.