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Marine Corps Marathon cancels for the first time in history due to coronavirus

Marine Corps Marathon cancels for the first time in history due to coronavirus

For the first time in its 45-year history, the Marine Corps Marathon canceled its annual race due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The race was originally scheduled to take place on Oct. 25 in Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C. However, organizers decided Friday to cancel the race and announced their decision on Monday once it became clear that logistics could not be finalized safely given the circumstances.

In a press release, the Marine Corps Marathon announced that it will still hold events this year in a virtual format. Runners may opt out for a full refund of about $172 or defer their fees to 2021, 2022 or 2023. For runners who still wish to compete this year, they will receive a medal, shirt and commemorative face mask and will be able to participate in a virtual marathon for $45 total.

Founded in 1976, the marathon served as a way to promote goodwill following the Vietnam War, showcase the Marine Corps and recruit. It also gave Marines a chance to qualify for the Boston Marathon. 

Since then, it has grown into a massive event with a 10K, 50K and kids run as well. The weekend draws over 30,000 runners worldwide and pumps $88 million into the local economy, according to a 2013 Towson University study.

The race was almost canceled a few times before. In 2001, it was scheduled for just six weeks after the attacks on 9/11, which led organizers to consider canceling. In 2002, concerns arose when D.C. snipers terrorized the area; however, they were caught three days before the race. And in 2012 and 2013, the race was threatened by Hurricane Sandy and the government shutdown, respectively. 

D.C.’s most popular marathon was one of the few large races remaining on the 2020 calendar. The Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon and Chicago Marathon all canceled this year. The only major race still on the calendar is in Honolulu on Dec. 13. 

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D.C. says Nationals' proposal to allow employees to leave quarantine to work is a risk

D.C. says Nationals' proposal to allow employees to leave quarantine to work is a risk

The Washington Nationals contacted Washington D.C. city government on July 10 to ask for a modification of the terms in their previously-approved waiver proposal.

The proposal from the team was an effort to allow employees -- i.e. players -- who have come in close contact with “individuals diagnosed with COVID-19” to leave home in order to work within the District of Columbia.

Here’s what the Nationals’ proposal to the city included as parameters:

• The individual must test negative for the presence of the virus via an Expedited Diagnostic Test, and self-quarantine while awaiting the results of that test
• The individual must be completely asymptomatic
• The individual must undergo more frequent temperature checks and enhanced symptom monitoring under the direction of the club’s medical staff for at least 14 days following the potential exposure
• The individual must wear a surgical mask at all times (including while outside of club facilities), except while on the field
• The individual must immediately self-isolate under the direction of the team physician if he or she develops any symptoms consistent with COVID-19
• The close contact remains quarantined at his or her place of lodging except for travel to the ballpark and back for 14 days following the potential exposure
• The close contact receives PCR laboratory-based COVID testing on a daily basis for 14 days following the potential exposure

RELATED: NATIONALS APPROVED TO PLAY AT NATS PARK

Most of those protocols align with the ones outlined in Major League Baseball's 2020 operations manual.

In a July 16 response from the city written by Dr. Christopher Rodriguez, director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), the proposal is seen as a risk to the Nationals’ workforce.

From the letter Rodriguez sent to the Nationals:

DC Health opines that this proposal poses a potential risk to others in the workplace, both employees and non-employees, who may come into contact with the individual who has been exposed to COVID-19 and continues to work. If the individual is permitted to travel during the self-quarantine and interacts with members outside the primary organization, the risk extends. As such, the Washington Nationals adopts this modified policy with the understanding and acceptance of this risk to its workforce and other members of the public.

In the event that an incumbent of the identified 87 positions in the enclosed proposal is identified as a close contact to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19, the District of Columbia advises the following:

• Self-quarantine will occur for a minimum of 14 days.
• The proposed modified quarantined shall be implemented by the Washington Nationals organizations with the full understanding by the organization of risk it poses to employees and others within the workplace. Activities are restricted to the workplace (i.e. ballpark) and place of residence. Travel to and from the workplace shall occur by private vehicle.
• Quarantined players should not travel out of the jurisdiction/National Capital Region due to the risk of transmission and potential of spread to other communities.

NBC Sports Washington reached out to the Nationals, who declined to comment.

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Washington DC launches bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches

Washington DC launches bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches

It’s still six years out, but Washington, D.C. is making a push to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to the nation’s capital.

With North America selected as the location of choice for the 2026 World Cup rather than one country in particular, D.C. officials announced Tuesday their intention to make Washington one of the 16 host cities for the 80-match tournament.

“Right now, as countries around the world continue to respond to this pandemic, the 2026 FIFA World Cup is something we can all look forward to,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “And when the tournament comes to North America, it only makes sense for DC — the Sports Capital and District of Champions — to host. We are already a city united by the game, and in 2026, we look forward to uniting the world.”

According to The Washington Post, 10 cities from the U.S. are expected to land matches for the tournament with Canada and Mexico splitting the other six. It will be the first time in World Cup history that the tournament will be shared by more than two countries.

The District established a group called DC2026, which announced a 40-member advisory board that includes D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, three-time MLS champion Eddie Pope, Washington Spirit stars Joanna Lohman and Andi Sullivan, two-time gold medalist Brianna Scurry, EventsDC chairman Max Brown, chef José Andrés and D.C. United general partner Gregory O’Dell.

“As a native Washingtonian, I am proud to be a Co-Chair of DC’s official bid committee to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” Hamid said in a statement. “I could not think of a more vibrant, inclusive or passionate soccer city to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026. With our deep soccer roots and diversity, the culture of our city gives us our foundation to successfully highlight the matches and leave a lasting impact on the future of the game.”

DC2026 plans to tout D.C.’s “unparalleled roots to the sport of soccer and world-class hosting capabilities” as part of its pitch. In a three-page press release, the group laid out advantages such as the metro system and three local airports that would allow it to host the increased number of tourists.

The city last hosted the World Cup in 1994, when it made RFK Stadium one of nine U.S. venues for the tournament. It’s also held Olympic soccer games (1996) as well as the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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