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story.lead_photo.caption Judge Maxwell Blade makes the Treasure Isle RV Park team do push-ups during the Running of the Tubs in 2019. - File photo by The Sentinel-Record

Visit Hot Springs on Monday pulled the plug on this year's Stueart Pennington World Championship Running Of The Tubs bathtub races, postponing the annual event until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 15th annual event had already been rescheduled from May 30 until July 11 due to the pandemic.

"The increasing number of people nationwide who are testing positive for the virus led us to make this decision," Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison said in a news release.

"We really regret having to postpone the bathtub races, but we want to ensure that our citizens and visitors remain safe. The necessity for safe social distancing was something we believed we just couldn't enforce for an event that spans the length of our famous Bathhouse Row," he said.

Arrison said VHS will announce the 2021 date for the races sometime early next year.

"Meanwhile, we encourage everyone to follow the advice of Gov. Asa Hutchinson and our public-health experts and continue to wear face covering and maintain social distancing when out in public," Arrison said.

"Hot Springs will welcome visitors to join our city residents next summer when we will resume what we call 'the cleanest event in the state,'" Bill Solleder, marketing director for Visit Hot Springs and coordinator of the races, said in the release.

The races have been held on Central Avenue in front of Bathhouse Row since 2005.

The event is named in honor of late downtown business owner Stueart Pennington.

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