This year’s Malta Marathon has been cancelled because of the stormy weather.
More than 5,000 athletes were due to take part in Sunday’s marathon, including hundreds of overseas athletes who flew to Malta for the event.
Organisers were forced to call off the event at the last minute after forecasters warned of gale force winds reaching up to 88km per hour.
In a statement, they said: ‘The Malta Marathon committee together with its safety officers have taken the unfortunate decision to cancel the 2019 Malta Marathon.
‘This decision is based on the current weather conditions and the forecast for tomorrow that indicates a further deterioration.
‘It has been taken in the interest of the safety of the participants, the volunteers, the general public and all third parties involved.’
Most athletes who had been preparing for the race welcomed the decision.
Brittanie McGee from New York posted on Facebook: ‘I flew all the way from NYC but understand given the conditions. Safety first!’
Alison Tuck from Essex said: ‘Safety must always come first, we flew over from the UK especially but will come back another year.’
Graz Aquilina wrote: ‘It is indeed sad after months of training and preparation. But, safety first.’
Siggi Martinsson added: ‘As annoyed as I am about travelling all this way for this I fully appreciate that race organisers must take responsibility for the health and well-being of participants.’
The move comes after hailstones hammered parts of Malta on Saturday afternoon, turning several areas into a winter wonderland.
One of the worst hit places was Paola, where the Hibs Stadium looked more like an ice rink than a football pitch.
Cover photo: Marcus Camilleri