BOSTON (WBZ) — The Boston Marathon is going virtual after officials decided to cancel the marathon “as a mass participation road running event” due to coronavirus concerns.
“Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters,” said Tom Grilk, C.E.O. of the Boston Athletic Association. “While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for a historic 124th Boston Marathon.”
Participants will receive a full refund and will still be able to run in the virtual 2020 Boston Marathon. On any day between September 7-14, the runners will have to complete 26.2 miles within six hours and provide proof to the B.A.A. All athletes who complete the virtual race will be given an official medal, runner’s bib, Boston Marathon program and participant T-shirt.
It’s the first time the Boston Marathon has been canceled in its 124-year history. The iconic race was originally scheduled for April 20 but was postponed until September.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said during a press conference that the decision to push back the date was “forward thinking,” but as time went on it became clear that the virus would still pose too high of a risk to hold a traditional marathon.
“Economically, it’s a big hit there’s no question about it,” said Mayor Walsh. “This entire three months has been a big hit for most sectors economically. Certainly we’re feeling it in our budget, our restaurants are feeling it, our small businesses are feeling it. Many of our offices are feeling it. We’ll survive. It might be a different reality for a lot of people.”
See more on the B.A.A. website.