Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has canceled the 124th Boston Marathon, originally set to take place on April 20 and rescheduled for September, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The race will be held virtually from Sept. 7 to Sept. 14, according to a release issued by the Boston Athletic Association.
“Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters,” B.A.A. CEO Tom Grilk said in the release. “While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon.”
Participants who originally registered for the in-person marathon will be offered a full refund for their entry fee and have the opportunity to participate in the virtual marathon, according to the release.
Participants in the virtual marathon will be required to complete the 26.2 mile distance continuously within six hours, providing proof of timing to the B.A.A. All participants who complete the virtual marathon will receive an official Boston Marathon program, participant T-shirt, medal, and runner’s bib, according to the release.
“The B.A.A. will also offer a series of virtual events and activities throughout September’s Marathon Week in an effort to bring the Boston Marathon experience to the constituencies that the organization serves here in Boston, across the United States, and around the world,” said the release.
These offerings will include a panel discussion, champions’ interviews, and a “downloadable Boston Marathon toolkit,” including a printable finish line, winner’s breaktape, and more, according to the release.
Boston College students expressed their disappointment at the marathon’s cancelation.
“We can’t be sure when the country will return to normal, or if it even will return to normal,” said Danielle Wilson, MCAS ’21. “It is better to be safe than sorry—however, it must be devastating for the runners who trained so hard for the marathon.”
Meghan Fitzgerald, MCAS ’23, said that she was disappointed to be missing out on the marathon after hearing all year about what a fun social experience it was going to be.
“I also think it was going to be one of the best times to show support for Boston as a city and not just Boston College, so I was very excited for that and once again sad to miss that opportunity,” Fitzgerald said. “But here’s to hoping we still get one next April.”
Wilson, however, was skeptical of the alternative virtual marathon being offered in its place.
“I think it’s better to just cancel it overall and have it next year,” she said.
Details of the registration process, fees, and the rules and guidelines for the virtual marathon will be communicated to Boston Marathon entrants in the nearby future, according to the B.A.A.
Entrants of this year’s marathon will be allowed to use their 2020 Boston Marathon qualifying time for the 2021 Boston Marathon. They will not, however, be allowed to use their virtual Boston Marathon time as qualifying time for the 2021 Boston Marathon.
Featured Image by Jonathon Ye / Heights Senior Staff