Boston Marathon Canceled for First Time, Replaced With Virtual Race

The Boston Marathon will not happen this year. After postponing the event until September, an announcement came this week confirming the event is canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Instead, there will be a "virtual event" in which runners who verify they ran 26.2 miles on their own will receive a medal. The race was originally scheduled for April 20, making this the first time in history the Boston Marathon has been canceled. It was modified in 1918 due to World War I and was stopped in 2013 when two bombs exploded at the finish line.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh made the announcement on Thursday and revealed why the event couldn't take place this year. "The traditional one-day running of the 124th Boston Marathon is not feasible this year for public health reasons," Walsh said via WCVB. "There is no way to hold this unusual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity. While our goal and hope was to make progress and contain the virus and recover our economy, this kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on Sept. 14 or anytime this year." With the loss of the Boston Marathon, the city will lose $200 million. In March, Walsh made the decision to postpone the event hoping to still have it later this year.

"Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters,” Tom Grilk, C.E.O. 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 Boston Athletic Association said participants who were originally registered for the event will be offered a full refund of their entry fee. As for the virtual event, the participants will have chance to run it anytime between September 7-14. Along with the race, there will be panel discussions and champion interviews during Marathon Week.

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest marathon as it stared in 1897. It began with 15 participants and it now has over 30,000. Normally, the marathon is held on the third Monday in April, which is Patriots Day. It's very likely the 2021 Boston will Marathon will take place on that date, barring any global health issues.