The 124th annual Boston Marathon has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Boston Athletic Association announced the move in a statement on Thursday, saying that the marathon will instead be held as a virtual event.
All participants who were set to run in the event initially slated for April 20 and later pushed back to Sept. 14 will be offered a full refund of their entry fee and have the opportunity to participate in the alternative.
This is the first time the in-person event has been canceled since the race’s inception in 1897, according to ESPN.
According to the statement, participants will be required to complete the full 26.2 miles in six continuous hours or less with proof of timing. The distance can be run any time between Sept. 7 and Sept. 14.
— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) May 28, 2020
The Boston Athletic Association added that the virtual race will be supplemented with exclusive events such as panel discussions and interviews with past champions.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the decision “allows all of us to celebrate the meaning this race has.”
“This is a challenge, but meeting tough challenges is what the Boston Marathon is all about,” Walsh wrote in a tweet. “It’s a symbol of our city and Commonwealth’s resilience.”