Athletics: Rescheduled Boston Marathon now cancelled due to coronavirus

Tanya Simon
May 29, 2020

Mayor Marty Walsh made the announcement Thursday at a news conference.

In the absence of the usual in-person marathon, the Boston Athletic Association announced that it will hold a "virtual" race for the would-be participants. "This kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on September 14th or anytime this year".

The 2020 Boston Marathon has been canceled, and it will become a virtual race for the first time in the event's history.

"While we can not bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for a historic 124th Boston Marathon", said Tom Grilk, the CEO of the Boston Athletic Association.

Organizers had hoped postponing the race from Patriots' Day to September 14 would allow them to preserve that tradition and get runners lined up in Hopkinton under healthier circumstances.

Add the Boston Marathon to the list of major events derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The London Marathon has been postponed until October while the Tokyo Marathon took place with only a reduced field of elite runners.

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The race, held annually since 1897, is the world's most prestigious marathon and generally draws over 30,000 runners from all over the world.

"For the rime being, we are better off being careful and cautious when it comes to really big events like that", he said.

"The spirit of Boston and the spirit of the Boston Marathon is to be strong and to be smart". "When necessity drives you in a direction you may not like, you have to have this strength, the wisdom and the guidance from public officials to do what's right".

The race was scheduled in April on the state holiday to commemorate the battles in Lexington and Concord that marked the start of the Revolutionary War. The distance can be run any time between September 7 and September 14.

If competing, virtual runners are required to complete the 26.2 miles in six hours and provide proof of timing. A downloadable "virtual toolkit" will include a printable finish line and winner's tape.

Grilk said that his organization will be "refunding entry fees to everyone who was a registered participant" in this year's marathon.

The 5K race run in the days around the Boston Marathon is also canceled. The 125th anniversary edition is scheduled for April 18, 2022.

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