Boston Marathon postponed until Sept. amid COVID-19 containment measures

BOSTON — The Boston Marathon will be postponed to a later date after being originally slated to take place Monday, April 20, 2020 in an effort to stem the spread of a global pandemic.

On Friday morning, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the marathon would be postponed until Monday, September 14.

“We wanted to make sure it was a day we could make work,” he said at a news conference outside city hall. “I want to discourage anyone from trying to run the route on April 20. The roads will not be closed and first responders will not be on hand."

First identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the new virus officially called COVID-19 has been quickly spreading to all corners of the world as officials rush to contain the outbreak.

More than 30,000 people run the Boston Marathon each year and millions of others come into town to participate in the festivities. Travel is planned months if not a year in advance.

Walsh says running the marathon without spectators “was never discussed.”

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“The Boston marathon is for everyone,” he said.

The Marathon hasn’t been canceled since it began its annual run in 1897. In 1918, it was made into a relay for military teams.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said at the news conference he would make Sept. 14 a state holiday.

Walsh said the date was chosen after carefully considering the construction schedules of towns and cities along the route along with school and work schedules across the state.

Runners who qualified or fundraised, but won’t be able to make the postponed date will have to wait to find out what their options are.

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“Those are matters that we will address very promptly,” Boston Athletic Assocation CEO Thomas Grilk said Friday morning.

The hundreds of businesses along the parade route spend months preparing for the Marathon in April and also count on the more than $200 million the race brings to the greater Boston area.

Countless events -- sporting and otherwise -- have been canceled or postponed this month as response times to the disease’s spread have lagged across the country.

As the World Health Organization declares the novel coronavirus spread a global pandemic and Governor Charlie Baker announced a state of emergency in Massachusetts, the effects are starting to be felt around the state.

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