The Virgin Sport Festival of Fitness announced Thursday that it will cancel this year’s events — including the Twin Peaks Mile and the SF Bay Half Marathon — scheduled for October 14 and 15 in San Francisco due to poor air quality, widespread public health concerns and resource re-allocation as a result of wildfires in the area.

In a press statement, Virgin Sport CEO Mary Wittenberg said, “Air quality is a major concern. Another priority for us is making sure that city and local officials, as well as first responders, have no distractions in doing what they need to do to help affected communities manage this situation. This was a big decision, given that this was our inaugural event and many stakeholders, including volunteers and of course the athletic community, worked hard to make it a reality. It’s also the right and necessary thing to do, for the sake of everyone’s health and safety.”

Virgin Sport posted the change of plans to Instagram, telling followers, “After careful consideration and consultation with the City and County of San Francisco and local officials, we are canceling our Virgin Sport San Francisco festival of fitness … Every paid participant will receive a full refund and we will be sharing an update on the process in the coming weeks.”

 

After careful consideration and consultation with the City and County of San Francisco and local officials, we are canceling our Virgin Sport San Francisco festival of fitness, including the Twin Peaks Mile and SF Bay Half, scheduled to take place this weekend, October 14-15, given the ongoing public health air-quality issues associated with the Napa and Sonoma wildfires, and following an official Health Advisory warning from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. While the cancelation is primarily linked to the health and safety of our athletes and volunteers, the decision also means that we are not using valuable Bay Area first responders and resources that can be better utilized elsewhere. Our deepest sympathies go out to the thousands of people impacted by these deadly fires. We regret the inconvenience and lost opportunities for all of our partners, vendors, attendees and others associated with canceling what would have been, under different circumstances, a fun, celebratory, inaugural event.  These fires are a tragic event for the local community and we're confident the athletic community will agree that this was the right, and indeed, the only sensible decision to take for the sake of everyone’s health and safety. Every paid participant will receive a full refund and we will be sharing an update on the process in the coming weeks. Additionally, to support the North Bay fire relief efforts and all those impacted by recent events, Virgin Sport will be making a $25,000 donation to the Northern California coastal region chapter of the American Red Cross, which will be matched by a $25,000 donation from Virgin Sport founding partner @ASICS America. For information and resources on how to help affected communities, visit the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army websites. Link in bio to read our full press release.

A post shared by Virgin Sport (@virginsport) on Oct 12, 2017 at 2:37pm PDT

The company also announced that it will donate $25,000 to the Norther California coastal region chapter of the American Red Cross, to be matched penny-for-penny by Virgin Sport founding partner ASICS America.

Other fitness companies are also taking steps to aid North Bay fire relief efforts. This Saturday, MNTSTUDIO in Sonoma will hold a Pilates boot camp fundraising workout event, according to 7.7.com. A suggested donation of $20 from all attendees will go to support the Napa Valley Community Foundation.

Barry’s Bootcamp has initiated a GoFundMe account called “United We Sprint,” and is asking members to contribute to the campaign to aid fire evacuees. Next Saturday, Oct. 21, a SoulCycle location in Castro will host a charity ride to support the Sonoma SPCA. A donation of $32 is suggested. 

Courtney Cameron is Editorial Assistant of Athletic Business.