Boston Marathon canceled due to pandemic

Runners make their way towards the finish line of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. ((Staff photo By Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via GettyImages))

The world-famous Boston Marathon will not happen in 2020, the mayor of Boston announced on Thursday. 

The 26.2-mile race, which draws more than 30,000 athletes each year, had been postponed from April to September due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Mayor Martin Walsh said even a September race date wouldn't be safe for runners, staff, volunteers, first responders, and spectators.

"The Boston Athletic Association, with our input and support, has determined that the traditional one-day running of the 124th Boston Marathon is not feasible this year for public health reasons," Walsh said at a press conference. "There's no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity."

The Boston Athletic Association, or BAA, which hosts the race, said the event would be "virtual" instead.

"Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters," BAA CEO Tom Grilk said in a statement. "While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon."

The BAA said it will offer full refunds to everyone who had signed up for the original April 20 race. They also will have the chance to sign up for the virtual race. 

Athletes who register for the virtual event must run the 26.2-mile distance in six hours or less any time between September 7–14 and provide proof to the BAA. 

"All athletes who complete the virtual race will receive an official Boston Marathon program, participant t-shirt, medal, and runner's bib," the BAA said.


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