Virgin Sport cancels its inaugural half marathon in San Francisco, poor air quality to blame

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Virgin Sport has announced the cancellation of its 2017 "Festival of Fitness" due to the North Bay wildfires.

The festival, which included the inaugural Twin Peaks Mile and SF Bay Half Marathon, was scheduled to take place this weekend. Race officials made the decision amid concerns regarding the Bay Area's deteriorating air quality.

FULL LIST: North Bay fires prompt evacuations, road closures

"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," said Virgin Sports officials in a statement posted on the festival's website.

Paid participants will be issued a full refund with details to come in the weeks ahead.

Virgin Sport says it plans to make a $25,000 donation to the Northern California coastal region chapter of the American Red Cross to help support fire relief efforts. That amount will also be matched from Virgin Sports founding partner ASICS America.

MORE INFO: Death toll rises to 26 in devastating North Bay fires

A number of fitness studios that had planned to participate in the festival will instead be launching fire relief fundraisers.

"Bringing together the fitness community to raise money for relief and to rally for our neighbors is the least we can do," says Jessica Forseth, a lead instructor with Flywheel Sports in San Francisco.

Flywheel will host a "Fly45" charity class Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at its Financial District studio on Spear St.

"It has been so heartbreaking to see the destruction from these fires, and watch family and friends be uprooted," said Forseth.

Barry's Bootcamp is also holding a clothing and toiletries 'donation drive' at all three of its San Francisco locations in the Marina, SOMA and the Financial District.

"The fires have impacted several of our clients and instructors from the North Bay," says Barry's Bootcamp San Francisco partner, Justin Roja. "Barry's is all about community and we want to everything possible to show our love and help to those affected."

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