The Boston Marathon, which has been held in some form every year since 1897, will not be run in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, race organizers announced today.
The race was originally scheduled for April 20, Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. In March, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) pushed it to September 14 in hopes that the event could be safely held then.
As the months went on, the death toll (now over 100,000 in the U.S.) from COVID-19 surged, and Boston became a hotspot for the virus, it became apparent that the storied race was unlikely to happen this year.
Big marathons typically put thousands of people in tight quarters together at a starting area, prime conditions for transmitting the virus. Also, medical personnel are too busy working in hospitals helping coronavirus patients to staff a race of Boston’s size.
“We support the very difficult decision that the governor, the mayor, and public officials all along the marathon route made to safeguard the health and safety of all participants, volunteers, fans, community members, everybody associated with the Boston Marathon every year,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the BAA.
Grilk said that entry fees will be refunded for everyone who was a registered participant in the race.
The BAA is planning a virtual Boston Marathon. Participants will have to finish a marathon within six hours between September 7 and September 14, and provide proof of timing to the BAA. The medal and race shirt will be awarded to finishers of the virtual race.
“It’s definitely disappointing, but I’m certain the local communities, along with the BAA and John Hancock, are making the right decision for all parties involved,” Des Linden, the 2018 champion, wrote in a text message to Runner’s World. “I know we’re all anxiously awaiting the return to normal, but we can’t rush that process based on what we want, at the expense of what we need.
“When Boston is ready to host the world, I’ll be excited to join the celebration.”
Since it started, the Boston Marathon has never been fully canceled, except in 1918 when a marathon military relay was run instead. The race was stopped in 2013 after bombs exploded near the finish line.
The BAA, 5K scheduled for September 12, has also been canceled due to coronavirus and entrants will receive refunds.
—This story will be updated.
From: Runner’s World US
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