Boston Marathon canceled for 2020 due to COVID-19, will be run as virtual race

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The Boston Marathon will not be run in 2020, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Thursday. It will be the first time in its 124-year history that it is not held through the streets of the city.

The race had initially been postponed from its annual date on Patriots Day, which fell on April 20 this year, to Sept. 14. The race draws at least 30,000 runners from around the world and hosting it during the COVID-19 crisis is “not feasible” this year, Walsh said. Runners will have their fees refunded.

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As of Walsh’s announcement, there are 12,634 confirmed cases and 627 deaths of COVID-19 in Boston with 6,272 having recovered

The Boston Athletic Association will instead hold the race virtually. Those who were registered for the 2020 race have the opportunity to participate in the virtual event between Sept. 7 and 14.

BAA CEO Tom Grilk said in a statement:

“Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters. While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon.”

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If competing, virtual runners are required to complete the 26.2 miles in six hours and provide proof of timing. Finishers will get the official Boston Marathon program, T-shirt, medal and runner’s bib. The virtual program the BAA will host includes panel discussions, champions interviews and a downloadable toolkit. The kit includes “signature race elements” like a printable finish line and winner’s break tape.

The 5K race run in the days around the Boston Marathon is also canceled.

The Boston Marathon finish line is shown on Boylston Street, shown virtually deserted on April 08, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Marathon has been postponed to September 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic. A stay-at-home order by by Gov. Charlie Baker is in effect through May 4, while Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has enacted a recommended curfew of 9 p.m. and is encouraging the use of face masks in public spaces.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
The Boston Marathon will not be run in 2020. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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