BOSTON (WHDH) - Officials announced Friday that the 2020 Boston Marathon has been postponed due to the escalating coronavirus outbreak.
The historic 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Copley Square — initially slated to take place on Monday, April 20 — will now be held on Monday, Sept. 14, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Athletic Association CEO Thomas Grilk, and President and CEO of John Hancock Marianne Harrison said at a joint press conference.
After days of discussion, Walsh said the decision to postpone the race was made in an effort to safeguard against and protect the city from the spread of the coronavirus.
“It’s our expectation and our hope right now that this date will get us to a safer place in relation to the coronavirus,” Walsh said. “It’s a date that the BAA can make work for their runners. Our priority right now is ensuring the health and safety of the runners, the fans, the medical personnel, first responders, residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, visitors from across the country, and visitors from across the world. We want to make sure that we keep people safe.”
The marathon is said to have an economic impact of more than $200 million on Boston businesses each year, in addition to the countless amount of money that is raised for charitable organizations.
Walsh called the postponement a “very big undertaking” and said that he hopes the September event will help businesses recover.
Walsh urged the public not to run along the route on April 20, stressing that roads will be open and emergency crews will not be readily available because they will be tied up with combatting the coronavirus.
“The marathon is Boston and is all of us standing here today in Massachusetts. It connects us, it reflects us, it brings out our community spirit and our resiliency,” Walsh said. “We’ve shown before that no matter what the challenge is to our marathon and our city, we are Boston Strong. That’s what we will be again this year — in the face of this crisis.”
Baker thanked the public and registered marathon participants for their patience as the state learns to cope with the coronavirus and all of the challenges and uncertainty it has brought with it.
“While it may be hard to believe that I will be filing a bill soon to make Sept. 14 this year’s Marathon Monday, I think it’s important to point out that in conversations with both the House and Senate leadership, there was an immediate desire to make sure that we preserve this very special day,” Baker said. “I know this is a change, and in some respects, it won’t look right on the calendar. It certainly is the right thing to do. As as we have seen before, this particular Boston Marathon does define resilience.”
Hundreds of thousands of people line the racecourse each Patriots Day to cheer on the 30,000 runners who typically take part in the grueling trek. It has been run every year since April 19, 1897.
As of Thursday, there were 102 presumptive and six confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts.
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