24-hour endurance bike race Mountain Mayhem has released news that the event is 'cancelled due to coronavirus'. The 24-hour mountain bike race organiser cites being unable to take out insurance that will cover costs in the event of cancellation due to the coronavirus, making it the first major sporting event cancellation with this as the claimed reason we're aware of in the UK.
[Update 6th March 2020]
It was brought to our attention this morning by one of our eagle eyed journalist that Dean from Marston Lodge has asked Instagram whether they would be interested in a 24 hour mountain bike race on the same weekend as the cancelled Mountain Mayhem event. That's all the info at the moment but the commenters look keen. There is only six of them but then @deanbarnettuk only has 530 followers, so head over, give him a follow and let him know what you'd like to see in Mountain Mayhem place. Full Instagram post below:
[Orignal story, posted 3rd March 2020]
Mountain Mayhem event organisers say that they take out their event insurance nearer to the time of the event at a time when they start taking orders for large, costly pieces of equipment such as generators and toilets. It appears that on attempting to get insurance the race has been told that "it is no longer possible to get any cancellation insurance from any company" due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The news of the cancellation comes the day after a press release was sent to us stating that the event was already in jeopardy: "we must tell you that despite our best efforts we have been unable to secure a title sponsor and may not be able to run Mountain Mayhem this year."
Regardless, the news comes hot off the heels of the government unveiling its coronavirus action plan which includes measures such as containing the virus, detaining and quarantining individuals via new powers for health professionals, stockpiling of medicines and expanding of health services.
The race also cites that the UK government has announced the possibility of the cancellation of large public events, the document containing the government action plan mentions large gatherings but isn't specific in how or when it might enforce cancellation of events, saying:
"Action that would be considered could include population distancing strategies (such as school closures, encouraging greater home working, reducing the number of large-scale gatherings) to slow the spread of the disease throughout the population while ensuring the country’s ability to continue to run as normally as possible."
We are aware of many other events being cancelled in other countries but this is the first major one we're aware of that is directly related to coronavirus inside the UK. Other examples are the Ireland v Italy rugby match in Dublin, the World Athletics Indoor Championships, plus many tourist attractions such as the Louvre in Paris and many museums in Italy.
In purely cycling terms coronavirus has already led to the cancellation of races in China such as the men’s UCI ProSeries race the Tour of Hainan, which was due to take place last week, and the Women’s WorldTour race and the Tour of Chongming Island, in May.
Our news team did a bit of digging and found this article by C&IT which states that most events are not covered by their insurance in the case of coronavirus cancellation. They quote Romero Insurance who say a standard insurance policy will not cover an event loss of income or revenue due to coronavirus but that some policies may have a "Notifiable or Communicable Disease" extension which extends cover to apply to instances of Notifiable Human Infectious or Contagious Disease, not that coronavirus is one yet which further muddies the water.
There are also other insurance wormholes to delve into here regarding whether policies will specifically exclude coronavirus as it is now a ‘pre-existing circumstance’. Event insurance limits and in what timescale events will be covered, for example, claims may only be covered from the day the disease becomes notifiable with certain policy wording. So if an organisers cancel an event now and becomes notifiable next week they will have lost some money as claims can not be made retrospectively. With Scotland having just made the coronavirus a notifiable disease, we are sure that England won't be far behind.
We've reached out to other event organisers to see how they are factoring the coronavirus outbreak into their plans and we'll update this story with their responses.
Today's press release from Mountain Mayhem is below, with yesterday's below that.
CORONAVIRUS CANCELS MOUNTAIN MAYHEM
Following the government announcement about the possibility of the cancellation of large public events in order to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, organisers of Mountain Mayhem 24hr MTB endurance event, due to be held at Marston Lodge on 19th, 20th and 21st June have cancelled the event.
Jill Greenfield, owner and organiser of Mountain Mayhem said "We always take out our insurance policy just before we start ordering all our equipment, as obviously that is a huge expense for us. I checked with our insurer this morning and we were told that it is no longer possible to get any cancellation insurance from any company. We cannot put ourselves, our sponsors, the traders, our suppliers or of course our riders in that position, so we have taken the decision now to cancel Mayhem 2020 and postpone until 2021. We hope that everyone will understand our position and the decision we had no choice but to make. We will, of course, give full refunds to all who have paid to date."
"SAVE MOUNTAIN MAYHEM
Today, organisers of the iconic 24hr MTB endurance event, Mountain Mayhem, the longest running MTB endurance event in the world, scheduled for 19th, 20th and 21st June at Marston Lodge in Northamptonshire were compelled to send this letter to to riders who have already entered the event:
It is with great sadness that we write this email to you today.
Unfortunately the future of Mountain Mayhem is in jeopardy. At Mountain Mayhem we pride ourselves on honesty, which is why we must tell you that despite our best efforts we have been unable to secure a title sponsorand may not be able to run Mountain Mayhem this year.
As you know, every event needs sponsors and without them we simply cannot facilitate the weekend. Mountain Mayhem is the longest running MTB endurance event in the world and was nominated by Singletrack readers as Event of the Year 2019.
We are actively looking to try and secure sponsorship so that we can make Mountain Mayhem 2020 happen but unfortunately we must have a cut off date and a decision be made. We do not want to let you down as we are just as excited as you about the event this year.
If you know anyone who could get involved in the sponsorship and help save Mountain Mayhem in 2020 then please email us.
Our final decision will be made within the next few weeks so that you can change your plans and not miss out on any other events which you could take part in. If we do make the sad decision to cancel Mountain Mayhem you will be fully refunded, but cancelling is something we hope we do not have to do.
We hope that you can understand this is not a decision we will make lightly and we feel incredibly disappointed to be in this situation.
The clock is ticking down on this historic event. If there are any companies out there that feel they can benefit from being involved, do not hesitate to contact the organisers"
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