2021 Boston Marathon postponed to fall for second straight year

BOSTON — The 125th Boston Marathon, originally planned for Patriots' Day in April 2021, will be postponed until the fall of next year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Boston Athletic Association announced Wednesday afternoon.

This is the second year in a row that the Boston Marathon will not be held on the traditional third Monday in April after the 2020 contest was originally postponed and then later replaced with a virtual version of the event.

The Marathon is one of Boston’s most beloved traditions. We have appreciated the BAA’s cooperation in putting public health and safety first, both by shifting the 2020 Marathon to a virtual format this fall, and by postponing the 2021 Marathon until the public health data shows that it is safe for all athletes and spectators to gather in large numbers. We look forward to holding the Marathon again to celebrate not only this world-class event, but also the resilience and solidarity that the people of Boston have shown throughout this crisis.

—  Mayor Marty Walsh

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The BAA has not picked a specific date in next year’s fall for the marathon, adding that they will work with state and local officials, along with event organizers and sponsors, to determine if a date in fall 2021 is possible for the marathon to be held.

“The B.A.A. will work with local, city, and state officials and members of its COVID-19 Medical & Event Operations Advisory Group to establish under what conditions the next live, in-person Boston Marathon can occur," the association said. “Before the end of the year, the B.A.A. seeks to announce a new date.”

“With fewer than six months until Patriots' Day and with road races prohibited until Phase 4 of the Massachusetts reopening plan, we are unable to host the Boston Marathon this coming April,” said the CEO of the B.A.A., Tom Grilk.

“We are optimistic that the Boston Marathon will continue its tradition of celebrating the spirit of community and athletic excellence next fall. We know there will be many questions and we will look to address them in the coming months ahead.”

The association said that they will release details on when registration reopens and the size of the field for the 125th Boston Marathon, along with other details, later once the event is planned in accordance with local regulations. In early September, the B.A.A postponed registration for the 2021 Boston Marathon.

Julia Cox just moved to Boston and was looking forward to seeing the marathon.

“It’s super unfortunate. It’s just been such a ripple effect with everything," she said. "If it’s for the public safety, I’m totally for it. I’m a big believer in wearing masks so whatever they need to do to get this under control I’m willing to do.”

Grilk told Boston 25 News that, given the uncertainty around the virus, holding out hope was no longer possible.

“At the same time recognizing the reality that it is highly improbable that such a thing could happen,” he said.

A major deciding factor was that a vaccine may not be readily available.

“It seems very unlikely there will be a vaccine or a series of vaccines that reach sufficient penetration in the population by April,” Grilk said.

The impacts are far-reaching. Grilk said the marathon injects $200 million into the local economy, and he knows as a runner how disappointing this is.

“There is this wretched disease over which none of us has control,” he said.

Cox also feels for the runners who train so hard for Boston.

“I can’t imagine training for a marathon and having it postponed like this,” she said.

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