The Boston Marathon has been canceled for the first time in its 124-year history. On Thursday, marathon organizers said that they instead will have a “virtual event” in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles on their own will receive their finisher’s medal. The race had originally been scheduled for April 20 before being postponed for five months because of the coronavirus pandemic. “While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for a historic 124th Boston Marathon,” said Tom Grilk, the CEO of the Boston Athletic Association.
The cancellation is the first ever for the race, which began in 1897 when 15 men drew a starting line in the dirt in Ashland and headed for the city to commemorate the first modern Olympic Games the previous year. In 1918, the format was modified to a relay due to World War I; the 2013 race was stopped when two bombs exploded at the finish line, several hours after the winners had finished but while many recreational runners were still on the course. The race has always been held during April on the state holiday to commemorate the battles in Lexington and Concord that marked the start of the Revolutionary War.
The 2021 Boston Marathon is scheduled for April 19 and the 125th anniversary edition is scheduled for April 18, 2022.
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