Runners in the virtual event will submit proof of running 26.2 miles within a six-hour window to be awarded a participant medal

By Gabrielle Chung
May 28, 2020 05:38 PM
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Boston Marathon
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The 2020 Boston Marathon will be replaced with a virtual event in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Boston Athletic Association canceled the annual race — which had already been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14 due to the coronavirus crisis — for the first time in its 124-year history on Thursday, announcing that the physical marathon will be replaced with a virtual event in which runners will provide proof of running 26.2 miles within a six-hour time period to be awarded a participant medal.

All athletes who complete the remote race will also receive a runner's bib, a participant T-shirt and an official Boston Marathon program, according to organizers.

Participants who were originally registered for the physical event will be offered a full refund. They will also be able to use their qualifying time for the 2021 Boston Marathon registration.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a tweet that organizers and city officials decided that hosting the one-day run was "not feasible this year, for public health reasons."

"While our goal and our hope is to make progress in containing the virus and recovering our economy, this kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on September 14 or any time this year," he wrote. "So instead, we’ll be joining and supporting the @BAA in an alternative approach to the Marathon that allows runners to participate remotely, and allows all of us to celebrate the meaning this race has for our spirit, for our charities, and for our local economy."

Walsh added, "This is a challenge, but meeting tough challenges is what the Boston Marathon is all about. It’s a symbol of our city and Commonwealth’s resilience."

The Boston Marathon typically attracts more than 30,000 runners from around the world, with up to 1 million spectators lining city streets to watch the race, Boston.com reported.

Boston Marathon
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"Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the Boston Athletic Association, 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 Massachusetts Department of Health said in a report on Thursday that there have been 94,895 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6,640 deaths in the state.

In the United States, there are now more than 1,721,200 coronavirus cases and at least 101,200 people have died from the respiratory disease, according to a New York Times database.

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