The 124th running of the Boston Marathon will not take place in its normal format in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Instead, the historic race will instead be held virtually, the Boston Athletic Association announced Thursday.
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
The Marathon was originally scheduled for April 20, and it was later postponed to Sept. 14 before Thursday's update.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh tweeted the following comments Thursday afternoon:
The Boston Athletic Association, with our input and support, has determined that the traditional, one-day running of the 124th Boston Marathon is 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. So instead, we’ll be joining and supporting the Boston Athletic Association 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. 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.
Runners will still have a chance to earn a medal for completing a 26.2 mile run. The Boston Athletic Association tweeted those details Thursday:
The B.A.A. will offer a series of virtual events & activities throughout September’s Marathon Week to bring the Boston Marathon experience to the world. This will include exclusive panel discussions, champions interviews, and a downloadable toolkit with signature race elements. Participants in the virtual 2020 Boston Marathon will be required to complete the 26.2 mile distance within 6 hours & provide proof of timing. All finishers of the virtual race will receive an official Boston Marathon program, participant t-shirt, medal, & runner’s bib.
While Thursday's news is certainly disappointing for everyone associated with the Boston Marathon, especially the runners who train year-round for the event, this is the correct decision to ensure the health and safety for everyone involved.