For the first time in the 124 year history of the event, the Boston Marathon will be canceled, ESPN reported. The organizers of the Boston Marathon officially canceled the event, which had already been postponed from April 20 to September 14, on Thursday.
Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh spoke about the cancellation at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
“It became clear as this crisis developed that Sept. 14 was less and less plausible… There’s no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity,” Walsh said. “While our goal and our hope was to make progress in containing the virus and recovering our economy, this kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on Sept. 14 or any time this year.”
Boston Athletic Association CEO Tom Grilk also said that canceling the marathon was the right decision for 2020.
“This is this year’s reality,” Grilk 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 might not have liked, you need to have the strength, the wisdom and the guidance from public officials to do what’s right.”
The @BAA 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. pic.twitter.com/tlIdvsU9sq
— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) May 28, 2020
Even though the in-person event won’t take place, the organizers of the Boston Marathon announced that there will be a way for runners to participate and get their finisher’s medals, CNN reported. The 2020 Boston Marathon will be a virtual event, held between September 7 and 14. Virtual racers need to track their own run to prove that they ran 26.2 miles within a six-hour period. Runners who participate and submit a verified run will receive a racer’s bib, a t-shirt, and a finisher’s medal.
Though this is the first time the marathon has been canceled, according to ESPN, it has been postponed before; once because of overwhelming heat and once because a volcanic eruption in Iceland prevented competitors from being able to travel to the race.
According to ESPN, the Boston Marathon was first run in 1897 when 15 men started in Ashland and ran to Boston to celebrate the one year anniversary of the first modern Olympic Games. The race has been run every year since, until 2020. The race is traditionally held around April 20 to commemorate the battles of Lexington and Concord, which began the Revolutionary War.
Race organizers stated that everyone who registered for this year’s marathon would be refunded their entry fees and that qualifying times for this year’s marathon would apply for the 2021 Boston Marathon, ESPN reported.