Canceled Boston Marathon Will Be Held as Virtual Event

It's the first time in its 124-year history the race will not be run

A bird flies over the Boston Marathon finish line on April 20, 2020. (Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty)
A bird flies over the Boston Marathon finish line on April 20, 2020. (Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty)
Boston Globe via Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / May 29, 2020 9:52 am

Originally postponed from April until September due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boston Marathon has been outright canceled. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh made the announcement late Thursday, saying running the iconic race was “not feasible” this year.

“There’s no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity,” he said. “While our goal and 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 anytime this year.”

This is the first time in the event’s 124-year history that it will not be held. This year, the marathon was expected to draw more than 30,000 runners from around the world.

Now, those runners will have the opportunity to run the course from Hopkinton to Boylston Street virtually from Sept. 7 to  Sept. 14. Participants have also been offered a full refund for entry fees.

It’s unclear exactly how the virtual race will work, but participants in the 2020 virtual marathon will be required to complete the 26.2-mile distance in six hours or fewer and submit proof of their timing to the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) so a winner can be determined.

“Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters,” said BAA CEO Tom Grilk. “While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon.”

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