The Boston Marathon has been canceled for the first time in its 124-year history because of the coronavirus pandemic. The race was originally scheduled for April 20, but organizers moved it to September 14, hoping that conditions would be better in five months.
Unfortunately, the organizers realized that it would be impossible to hold the marathon, which sees around one million people line the streets to watch 30,000 runners compete in the 26.2-mile race.
"There's no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. "While our goal and our hope was 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."
Instead, officials said they are planning to hold a virtual marathon and will hand out medals to those who participate. The virtual race will be open anybody who registered for the April 20 race. Runners will be required to complete a continuous marathon within six hours between September 7 and 14.
Marathon officials said they will send out more information about the virtual race and how to submit proof of their times in the coming weeks.
"While we can't bring tens of thousands of people from around the world to Massachusetts for the marathon this year, we do hope to bring the spirit of the Boston Marathon to the world," Boston Athletic Association CEO Tom Grilk said.
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