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The World Athletics Council (WAC) confirmed on Wednesday that 12 cities have expressed an interest in hosting the first-ever World Athletics Road Running Championships.

The road race distances are 5K and the 21.1K half-marathon. Interested cities must submit their bid by June 1, 2021. The first event will be run in 2023.

The creation of the World Athletics Road Running Championships, which includes the popular World Half Marathon Championships, was approved by WAC in December.

Vancouver Sun Run start, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall/Athletics Illustrated

The event will include mass-participation races, and a week-long festival of supporting events, including parkrun events across the host city, a global running conference, health and fitness expos and clinics.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said, “We wouldn’t have chosen to launch a new global athletics tour on the eve of a pandemic, but the Continental Tour proved to be such a strong concept that it thrived even in these adverse circumstances.’’

“The tour has expanded substantially in 2021, and we’re delighted that it has been embraced so enthusiastically across the world. I’m particularly pleased to see that the US has stepped up to stage three Gold meetings as well as at least nine other Silver and Bronze meetings. These will provide new and vital competition opportunities and prize money for athletes and strengthen our sport both in the USA and internationally. We see the expanded US calendar as an early legacy of the decision to take our flagship event, the World Athletics Championships, to Oregon in 2022.”

“We will continue to drive innovation and boost the competition opportunities available to our athletes around the world, with our immediate focus on the World Athletics Relays Silesia 2021, to be held in Poland in just six weeks’ time.”