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Boston Marathon called off for first time in 124-year history

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The Boston Marathon has been canceled for the first time in the race’s 124-year history in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

In March, the 124th edition of the race was postponed from April 20 until September 14 by the Boston Athletic Association. But the event has now been officially called off due to the ongoing health crisis.

About 30,000 people run the Boston Marathon each year, while around 1m spectators line the 26.2-mile course. The event brings in approximately $211m to the city’s economy each year and raises $40m for charities.

Participants have been given the opportunity to take part instead in a virtual Boston Marathon, which can be run any time between September 7–14. Athletes will be required to complete the 26.2 mile distance within six hours and provide proof of timing. All finishers of the virtual race will receive an official race program, participant T-shirt, medal, and runner’s bib.

“While our goal and our hope is to make progress in containing the virus and recovering our economy, this kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on September 14 or any time this year,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh tweeted.

“So instead, we’ll be joining and supporting the BAA in an alternative approach to the Marathon that allows runners to participate remotely, and allows all of us to celebrate the meaning this race has for our spirit, for our charities, and for our local economy,” Walsh said.

The London Marathon has been postponed until October 4 while it remains unclear when or if the Berlin Marathon will take place this year.