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City considers cancelling permit for Brussels Marathon

16:41 16/10/2019

Brussels-City councillor Benoît Hellings (Ecolo) met with organisers of the Brussels Marathon & Half-Marathon yesterday to discuss the event’s future. The poor turnout this year and comparisons with the much more popular 20k of Brussels are factors leading some to think that the annual event should be cancelled.

Some 15,000 people registered for the Marathon & Half-Marathon, which took place on 6 October. Because of rain, several thousand didn’t show up, and only 7,000 finished one of the races. By comparison, 40,000 ran the 20k last May.

Hellings, responsible for sport, met with Marathon organisers Golazo, as well as police and a representative from the Capital-Region to discuss whether it is worth it to host the event in the future. “It was the first time we carried out an evaluation of the Marathon,” he told Bruzz. “The event blocks about 42 kilometres of public space for several hours. We do the same for the Tour de France and the 20k, but 40,000 people take part in those activities.”

The Marathon and Half-Marathon have been held since 2004, though the full marathon was also held for 11 years in the 1980s and ’90s. “We realise that we ask a lot of the public space, but it would be very unfortunate and illogical to cancel the Marathon,” said Golazo spokesperson Greg Broekmans. “The event brings many internationals to the city.”

A decision on whether the city will continue to grant a permit for the event will be taken next year, confirmed Hellings.

Photo courtesy Brussels Marathon

Written by Lisa Bradshaw


Frank Lee

All the major cosmopolitan cities in the world have prestigious marathons: NYC, Boston, London, Paris, Berlin,... So, Brussels, seeing that its marathon this year attracted only a modest turnout, would decide to cancel it. Other places, with smarter politicians in charge, would look at the reasons why their marathon is struggling and try to improve the situation by making it more attractive and interesting. But Brussels, this miserable city, try to make things better? No, no, when faced with a challenge, Brussels' elites will simply give up.
As for the argument that the marathon "blocks streets," it's far from being the only event that blocks streets in Brussels. Maybe European summits should be canceled as well, as it's just for a few dozen people running in circles, after all...

Oct 17, 2019 12:30

”The event blocks about 42 kilometres of public space for several hours.” by public space they mean roads I suppose, so cars cannot drive, what a shame. For several hours on a Sunday. Get a life!

Oct 17, 2019 20:30

The marathon's a waste of time compared with the hugely popular 20k, I don't know anyone who's seriously into running who does it, but as long as it doesn't costs taxpayers much - which apparently it doesn't - I don't see why it shouldn't stay. After all, anything that gets the fat company car drivers off the streets for an hour or three is a blessing.

Oct 18, 2019 07:41