CNN  — 

Simon Crow is not a professional athlete. But he has spent the last three months running six times a week, clocking in between 40 and 60 miles. Feeling great, Crow was hoping for a new personal best in the Paris marathon next month.

And then the novel coronavirus struck and his marathon got called off.

“Twelve weeks of marathon training down the pan,” said Crow, who is one of hundreds of thousands of runners who have had their big spring races canceled or postponed after months of training and sacrifice.

Paris, Tokyo, Boston, London, Rome, Barcelona, Manchester, Rotterdam and Vienna are among the cities that have announced their marathons wouldn’t take place as planned because of the outbreak.

“The world is in an unprecedented situation grappling with a global pandemic of COVID-19 and public health is everyone’s priority,” Hugh Brasher, the event director of the London Marathon, said in a statement on Friday.

“We know how disappointing this news will be for so many – the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds and the millions who watch the race every year,” he added.

While most runners say the cancellations are understandable, the feeling of disappointment is hard to shake off. Marathon running might be becoming more mainstream, but the feat still requires months, sometimes years of hard work.

Major disappointment

Simon Crow, Karina Voggel and Todd Prescott are among the hundreds of thousands who have had their races called off this spring.

Todd Prescott was scheduled to run the Boston Marathon next month.

It would have been his sixth and final of the World Marathon Majors, a series of the most prestigious marathons in the world that includes Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York. Completing all six is a huge achievement, not least because getting a place in these big races is becoming increasingly difficult.

Only 6,401 runners have managed the full series so far, according to the official count.

Apart from Boston, Prescott, a contract pilot based in London, was also planning to run the Edinburgh marathon in May. That race was canceled too, though the money he raised for charity – around $1,250 for the Boston First Responders community – won’t be lost.

Prescott said he knew the decisions were made in the interest of the public good. “I was disappointed, but not surprised,” he said.

“Fortunately in both cases, the races were not canceled outright but only postponed, so I’ll just have to train again when the time comes and will use the training I’ve done so far serve as a foundation for further improvement,” he added.

That kind of attitude is not just reserved for amateur runners. The world’s fastest marathoner Eliud Kipchoge is advising the same.

“To the thousands of runners who with me, have devoted the last months of our lives towards this goal I would like to say: Be proud of the work you have put into this journey, keep smiling and seek your next goal on the horizon to continue running in a smooth and positive way,” the Kenyan runner posted on his Instagram account.

Kipchoge was set to run the London Marathon in what was going to be a major showdown between him and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.

Bekele’s personal best is just two seconds slower than Kipchoge’s world record and the two were preparing to battle it out in the British capital in April. “I hope to share the starting line with you again soon,” Kipchoge added.