Boston Marathon canceled for first time in 124 years
BOSTON, MA- The Boston Marathon was canceled on Thursday for the first time in its 124-year history.
The spread of the coronavirus made clear that earlier plans to postpone the race until September were too optimistic.
Instead, organizers will hold a virtual event in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles on their own will receive their finisher's medal. Read more about the virtual race here.
"While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for a historic 124th Boston Marathon," Tom Grilk said, the CEO of the Boston Athletic Association.
The race is the most prominent and prestigious marathon in the United States and has been held through world wars, periods of domestic tension, and in snow and rainstorms.
As health experts say large gatherings remain dangerous amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Boston Athletic Association and Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the race would not take place in 2020 traditionally, even as other sports leagues have recently made plans to return to play.
The marathon was originally scheduled for April 20, was postponed in March and rescheduled for Sept. 14, but became 'unrealistic' due to the hundreds of thousands of people it brings together.
“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," Mayor Walsh announced on Twitter.
With over 5.6 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, the pandemic brought the sports world to a halt.
The Boston Marathon has a field of 30,000 runners, hundreds of thousands of fans cheer on the sides, and thousands of volunteers to help the race run smoothly. The event brings over $200 million to the city, The New York Times reports.
The 2021 Boston Marathon is scheduled for April 19.
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