The 2020 Boston Marathon has been cancelled for the first time in its 124-year history due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) has announced.
In a statement on Thursday, the BAA added that it would hold a "virtual event" instead and that all participants would receive a finisher's medal if they can prove they had run the 42-kilometre distance within six hours any time between September 7–14.
The marathon had earlier been postponed from April 20 to September 14 due to the coronavirus outbreak which has claimed more than 3.5 lakh lives across the world so far.
"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, CEO of the BAA. "While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for a historic 124th Boston Marathon." The BAA said that all participants will be offered a full refund of their entry fees.
One can participate virtually from September 7-14, and all athletes that finish the virtual race will be awarded with a T-shirt, medal and runner's bib.
The Boston Marathon is not only one of the famous marathons but is the world's oldest annual marathon and lines as one of the world's best-renowned road racing events. Inspired from the Summer Olympics of 1896, the Boston Marathon made its debut in 1897. The event that started with 15 participants now has touched the mark of 30,000. Every year over 50,000 gathers to witness the major sporting event in the world.
(With inputs from IANS)