Boston officials announced on Friday during a press conference that the 2020 Boston Marathon will be postponed until September 14, rescheduled from April 20 amid concerns about COVID-19 (“coronavirus”).
The state will declare September 14 a holiday, tentatively called “Marathon Day,” just like the spring Monday is Patriots’ Day in the state of Massachusetts.
Race officials are still working on details about how to handle the entries of runners who can’t race on September 14. That information is forthcoming.
“On matters of public health and safety we take our guidance from the officials entrusted with protecting the public in this area,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the Boston Athletic Association. “We understand our role, along with our partners, in ensuring a safe environment for all participants, volunteers, spectators and supporters that meets the standards set by those officials.”
A few hours later, officials announced that the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon—the 40th edition of the race which was scheduled to take place on Sunday 26 April—will now be run on Sunday, October 4, 2020. Runners will be able to choose to use their entry on the rescheduled date, defer entry to 2021, or receive a refund of the registration fee.
“We know that there will be many, many questions from runners, charities and others and we ask you to please bear with us as we work through the detailed planning process to deliver the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on its new scheduled date,” said Hugh Brasher, London event director, in a written statement. “We will email all runners and charities today and then update them via email by the end of next week at the latest. We will also post regular updates on our website and social media channels.”
Boston and London are not the only races grappling with how to proceed during the pandemic. The Tokyo Marathon, which like the Boston Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors (WMM), decided to hold an elite-only race on March 1—it usually draws a field of more than 35,000 runners. The Rome and Barcelona marathons are also among the races that will not go on this year—other international events, like the world half marathon championships in Poland, have been postponed until the fall.
USA Track & Field also announced that the masters indoor championships scheduled for March 13–15 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have been canceled, and the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on the same days in Albuquerque, New Mexico, were also discontinued.
The NYC Half Marathon planned for Sunday with about 25,000 runners was canceled on Tuesday. New York Road Runners officials said in a statement that resources to safely accommodate the large-scale event on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan became strained.
“Over the past week the NYRR team worked hard to adjust plans, implementing modifications and accommodations to alleviate crowding and facilitate social distancing,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, it has become clear that we will be unable to proceed in the manner that our runners have come to expect at NYRR events, where the safety and security of our runners, volunteers, staff, partners, and spectators are our main concern.”
Runners will have the opportunity to receive a registration fee refund or defer their entry until next year.
The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world, which even continued in 1918, though it was modified as a military relay that year because of the country’s involvement in World War I, according to the Boston Globe.
From Women’s Running