The Boston Marathon, held every year since 1897, has been canceled as an in-person event for the first time. It will be held as a virtual race instead due to the coronavirus.

“While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon,” Boston Athletic Association (BAA) CEO Tom Grilk said in a press release.

The world’s oldest annual marathon had been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14, it was announced March 13.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he first considered canceling the postponed marathon during a coronavirus surge in April.

“We were maxed out in our hospital emergency rooms,” Walsh said Thursday. “I realized that the downside of the curve, which we were on, the backside of the curve, is going to be going for some time. The concern of a second surge made me have some real reservations about can we have the marathon or not.”

Walsh said experts said a potential second surge would be between August and October. He held out hope to hold the race until talking with the BAA last week.

All participants originally registered for Boston will be offered a full refund of their entry fee and have the opportunity to participate in the virtual alternative, which can be run between Sept. 7-14.

All virtual finishers of the 26.2-mile distance within a six-hour time period — with proof of timing — will receive an official Boston Marathon program, participant t-shirt, medal, and runner’s bib.

More details, including entry information, will be announced in the coming weeks.

It’s the biggest alteration to the Boston Marathon, which was inspired by the marathon’s debut at the first modern Olympics in 1896. Previously, the biggest change came in 1918, the last year of World War I. The marathon was still held on Patriots’ Day in April but as a 10-man military relay race.

The original 2020 Boston elite fields included two-time U.S. Olympian Des Linden, the 2018 Boston winner who was fourth at the Feb. 29 Olympic Trials, where the top three earned Olympic spots.

London is the world’s other major spring marathon. It was rescheduled from April 27 to Oct. 4. Its original fields for April were headlined by the two fastest men in history — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. It’s unknown if they will remain in the field, should London happen.

The fall major marathon schedule

Boston — Sept. 7-14 (virtual event)
Berlin — Sept. 27
London — Oct. 4
Chicago — Oct. 11
New York City — Nov. 1

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Top seed Wang Qiang suffers shock exit at CTA Tour

KUNMING – China’s top female tennis player Wang Qiang crashed out of the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) Tour after losing in a three-set thriller 6-4, 4-6, 6-10 against Yang Ziyi in the round of 16 on Wednesday. Wang, world No…

Tony Kanaan’s ‘Last Lap’ begins at Texas

The streak lives for Tony Kanaan. At least for one more race. With Kanaan running only ovals during his farewell IndyCar season in 2020 – which has been dubbed the “Last Lap” – his record streak of 317 consecutive Indy-car…

NHLPA Executive Board voting on 24-team Stanley Cup playoff format

Progress is being made towards the NHL returning to play. According to multiple reports, the NHL Players’ Association executive board is voting on the 24-team, conference-based playoff format. We could know what the players think as early as Friday evening.…

How England blew their chances as Euro 80 turned ugly

When the record of England’s missed opportunities is compiled, the national team’s failure at the 1980 European Championships must be near the top of the list. Everything appeared set up for Ron Greenwood’s team to be successful. Instead, the tournament…