Boston Marathon Canceled for First Time in 124-Year History

Marathon

BOSTON (AP) — Organizers canceled the Boston Marathon on Thursday for the first time in its history, bowing to the social distancing requirements of the coronavirus outbreak and ending a 124-year run that had persisted through two World Wars, a volcanic eruption, and even another pandemic.

The race, which draws a field of 30,000 and already had been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14, will be replaced by a virtual event in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles on their own will receive their finisher’s medal.

“It became clear as this crisis developed that Sept. 14 was less and less plausible,” Mayor Marty Walsh said at a news conference outside City Hall, where runners traditionally gather for a pre-race pasta dinner.

“This is a challenge, but meeting tough challenges is what the Boston Marathon is all about,” Walsh said, invoking the response to the finish line bombings seven years ago. “It’s a symbol of our city’s and our commonwealth’s resilience. So it’s incumbent upon all of us to dig deep, like a marathon runner, as we did in 2013, and keep that spirit alive.”

The B.A.A. said those who paid the entry fee for this year’s race can get their money back. They will also have a chance to participate in the virtual marathon, which they can run between Sept. 7-14. A downloadable “virtual toolkit” will include a printable finish line and winner’s tape.

Those who provide proof of a finish in less than 6 hours will receive a program, T-shirt, medal, and runner’s bib.

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