A POPULAR city marathon has been postponed in a bid to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

ABP Southampton Marathon was due to take place on Sunday April 26 but is now set to go ahead on Sunday June 21 - following the government's announcement that they will no longer support mass events for the time being.

Organisers say they have been closely following governmental advice and have had to postpone the event - which brings in thousands of runners every year - "in the interest of public safety".

However, they added that the event could be postponed again if a further date is required.

A spokesperson for ABP Southampton Marathon, run by ReesLeisure, said: "Following on from the Government’s announcement, the ABP Southampton Marathon has had to be postponed ABP Southampton Marathon to Sunday 21st June 2020, in the interest of public safety and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

"As the situation has developed over the previous weeks, organisers have been closely following Government advice to ensure our decisions were made with the best information possible.

"The Government briefing on 16th March stated that they will no longer support mass events taking place for the time being.

"This means it was not advisable for the event to proceed on the 26th of April as course that the health and safety of everyone (runners, events team, spectators, residents and brilliant volunteers) is paramount.

"Organisers have been working on a postponement date and intend to proceed on Sunday 21st of June. This is a fluid situation and they will keep a close eye on the Public Health England and Government updates.

"We do have further contingency plans and postponement dates that we are working on should a further date be required."

Runners have been given the option to run their chosen distance during April, and will receive their t-shirt and medal in the post following evidence of their solo virtual race.

Anyone who wishes to run on June 21 is asked not to do anything as they will be automatically transferred to the new date.

However, anyone who wishes to transfer to Winchester Half Marathon 2020 on September 20 or wants to defer their entry at the Southampton marathon can do so by emailing events@reesleisure.co.uk.

A further update will be given on May 22 by ReesLeisure.