The Malta Marathon on Sunday has been cancelled after stormy weather wreaked havoc on the yearly athletics appointment.

In a Facebook post, the organisers said that while they were ready to brave the weather, the storm seems to be worse than envisaged.

"The decision is based on the current weather conditions and the forecast for tomorrow that indicates a further deterioration. This decision has been taken in the interest of the safety of the participants, the volunteers, the general public and all third parties involved."

The Sliema council said that all police notices for car clearances for Saturday evening and Sunday are no longer applicable.

The change of mind comes just a day after a spokesman told Times of Malta that the marathon will happen "come what may".

Thousands of bibbed runners were expected to line up in Mdina on Sunday morning and make their way along the snaking circuit to the Sliema promenade. 

A gregale wind normally causes flooding on the Sliema Strand.

More than 4,000 athletes were expected to take part in Sunday's marathon, including hundreds of foreigners who flew over for the event. 

A hail storm blanketed parts of Malta on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Aron Tanti.A hail storm blanketed parts of Malta on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Aron Tanti.