2020 Boston Marathon canceled, mayor announces

2020 Boston Marathon canceled, mayor announces

BOSTON — The Boston Marathon will not be held this year, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Thursday afternoon.

Walsh announced the marathon would be postponed until Monday, September 14 earlier this year amid coronavirus mitigation measures, but said it “became increasingly clear” that date would not be feasible.

A “Virtual” Boston Marathon will be held in its place this year, the Boston Athletic Association announced.

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All participants who were originally registered for the April 20, 2020 event will be offered a full refund of their entry fee associated with the race and will have the opportunity to participate in the virtual alternative to the 124th Boston Marathon, which can be run any time between September 7–14.

This is the first time the Boston Marathon has not been held since its first running in 1897. In 1918, it was made into a military relay; in 2010, many marathon runners were not able to enter the race due to the volcano eruption that prevented air travel from much of Europe; in 2012, runners were given the option to skip running and carry-over their entry into the following year due to the heat; in 2013, the year of the bombing, many runners were unable to finish.

Participants in the virtual 2020 Boston Marathon will be required to complete the 26.2 mile distance within a six hour time period and provide proof of timing to the B.A.A. All athletes who complete the virtual race will receive an official Boston Marathon program, participant t-shirt, medal, and runner’s bib.

“Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters,” said Tom Grilk, C.E.O. of the B.A.A. “While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon.”

BAA's Tom Grilk on how the virtual Boston Marathon will work

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.” 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 across the country.

Frequently Asked Questions

(Q) I was entered in the 2020 Boston Marathon. How do I get my refund?

(A) All Boston Marathon entrants will be offered a full refund of their entry fee. Information on how to receive your refund will be communicated by e-mail in the coming weeks. Due to the volume of refunds being processed, the length of time before receiving your refund may be multiple weeks or months. We appreciate your patience, and assure you we will process all requests as quickly as possible.

(Q) If I purchased tickets to race week events (such as the Unicorn Club, Pre-Race Dinner or Post-Race Party), will I receive a refund?

(A) Yes. Information on how to receive your refund for purchases such as the Unicorn Club and Pre-Race Dinner or Post-Race Party tickets will be communicated by e-mail in the coming weeks. Due to the volume of refunds being processed, the length of time before receiving your refund may be multiple weeks or months. We appreciate your patience, and assure you we will process all requests as quickly as possible. Refunds do not include merchandise.

(Q) How do I enter the virtual Boston Marathon?

(A) Information on how to enter the virtual Boston Marathon will be communicated to all Boston Marathon entrants in the coming weeks. All participants who were originally entered in the Boston Marathon for April 20, 2020 are eligible to participate in the virtual Boston Marathon. This includes entrants who had previously opted for a race refund prior to the May 28 announcement.

(Q) What will I receive if I enter the virtual Boston Marathon?

(A) Surrounding September’s virtual Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. will offer a series of virtual events and activities throughout September’s Marathon Week (September 7-14) in an effort to bring the Boston Marathon experience to you.

Virtual offerings for participants during that week will include exclusive panel discussions, champions interviews, and a downloadable Boston Marathon toolkit that includes signature race elements such as a printable finish line, winner’s breaktape, and more. Further details and a complete list of entrant amenities will be sent to all participants in the near future.

(Q) What will I receive if I finish the virtual Boston Marathon?

(A) Participants in the virtual 2020 Boston Marathon will be required to complete the 26.2 mile distance within a six hour time period and provide proof of timing to the B.A.A. All athletes who complete the virtual race will receive an official Boston Marathon program, participant t-shirt, medal, and runner’s bib. Further details will be sent to all entrants in the near future.

(Q) What are the rules for the virtual Boston Marathon? How can I submit my time?

(A) Rules and guidelines surrounding the virtual Boston Marathon will be communicated by email and via www.baa.org in the near future. Participants in the virtual Boston Marathon will be required to complete the 26.2 mile distance within a six hour time period and provide proof of timing to the B.A.A.

(Q) Can I complete the 26.2 miles over multiple days?

(A) Participants are expected to complete the 26.2 marathon distance continuously, on the same day, and not broken up over several days.

(Q) Is there a fee to enter or participate in the virtual Boston Marathon?

(A) Registration details, including fees for participation and/or shipping costs, will be communicated to all Boston Marathon entrants in the near future.

(Q) Can I use my 2020 Boston Marathon qualifying time for the 2021 Boston Marathon?

(A) Yes. The B.A.A. is reviewing all specifics involved in the registration procedure for the 2021 Boston Marathon, and additional details related to both the qualifying window and registration dates for the 2021 Boston Marathon will be announced and posted in the coming weeks.

(Q) When will registration for the 2021 Boston Marathon open?

(A) Registration for the 2021 Boston Marathon will open towards the end of September 2020. The beginning of the qualifying window to be used for application and entry into the 2021 Boston Marathon has been established to be September 15, 2018, which means that we will accept qualifying performances posted for the 2020 event into the 2021 race, as well. Achieving and submitting a qualifying time during Boston Marathon registration does not guarantee acceptance into the Boston Marathon.

(Q) Can I use my virtual Boston Marathon time as a qualifying time for the 2021 Boston Marathon?

(A) Virtual race times that are submitted to confirm participation in the 124th virtual Boston Marathon in 2020 will not count towards qualification for the 2021 Boston Marathon.

(Q) Are deadlines still in place for participants running for a charity team?

(A) Specific questions about fundraising deadlines and timelines should be directed to the manager of the charity team with which you are affiliated.

You can find additional information on coronavirus here.