Boston Marathon In-Person Race Canceled, We're Going Virtual!

Ruben Hill
May 29, 2020

Thousands of runners will NOT be flooding the streets of Beantown in the 124th Boston Marathon has been officially scrapped in exchange for a virtual race.

Rescheduled from Patriots Day on April 20 to September 14, one of the world's most popular 26.2-mile races was cancelled on Thursday and will take place as a virtual event. That presented organizers with a social distancing problem that won't be solved by the fall.

Organizers announced the "difficult", if somewhat expected, decision Thursday to cancel this year's marathon, which had previously been postponed until September 14, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

"There's no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity", Mayor Marty Walsh said at a press conference Thursday.

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has announced that the 124th Boston Marathon will be held as a virtual event, following Boston Mayor Martin Walsh's cancellation of the marathon as a mass participation road running event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the BAA says that race times from this September's virtual marathon will not be able to be used to qualify for the 2021 race.

"This is a challenge, but meeting tough challenges is what the Boston Marathon is all about", Walsh said, invoking the response to the finish line bombings seven years ago.

"Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters", Boston Athletic Association chief Tom Grilk said in a statement. "So it's incumbent upon all of us to dig deep, like a marathon runner, like we did in 2013, and keep that spirit alive". Participants will be able to get a full refund for their entry fee, and runners will have the opportunity to participate in the virtual marathon any time between September 7 and 14.

Runners who are paid entrants into the event will receive a full refund and can earn a finisher's medal by completing a 26.2-mile run on their own.

The B.A.A. 5K scheduled for September 12 has also been canceled due to coronavirus. The 125th anniversary edition is scheduled for April 18, 2022.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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