Taking it in stride: Despite delay, Norwell family plans to run Boston Marathon in honor of late father

NORWELL, MASS. (WHDH) - The Boston Athletic Association has announced that the 125th Boston Marathon, traditionally held on the third Monday in April—Patriots’ Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts—will be postponed until at least the fall of 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has robbed so many people of so many opportunities and it is no different for Steven Iannacone, who lost the chance to create more memories with his father who contracted COVID-19 during a trip to the hospital in April.

“When the doctor called me, we got one last video with him and then he passed shortly thereafter,” Iannacone said.

To honor his dad’s life, he planned on participating in the 125th running of the Boston Marathon next year.

It would be his seventh time running the race and the first time his son Nico would be able to join in.

“He passed on Patriots’ Day, April 20th. So as sad as my entire family was, we kinda looked at it as a sign for Nico – now every Patriots’ Day we can honor him by running,” Iannacone said.

While the father and son are still planning to participate – they won’t be doing it on Patriots Day.

The B.A.A. says it will begin working with local, city, and state officials, sponsors, organizing committee members, and other stakeholders to determine if a fall 2021 date is feasible.

“With fewer than six months until Patriots’ Day and with road races prohibited until Phase 4 of the Massachusetts reopening plan, we are unable to host the Boston Marathon this coming April,” said Tom Grilk, C.E.O. of the B.A.A., in a statement “By shifting our focus to a fall date, we can continue to work with stakeholders to adjust the in-person experience for runners and supporters alike. Prioritizing the safety of participants, volunteers, spectators, and community members, we continue to assess all elements of the race

The BAA said this decision was made because of an increase in coronavirus cases reported in Boston and across the state.

Road races aren’t allowed until phase 4 of reopening, which the state has said will require a vaccine or an effective treatment for COVID-19.

“We’re reaching for the best balance that we can in an environment that we hope we can do something but at the same time recognize, to one degree or another, limited by the disease,” Grilk said.

While the next marathon may look different, the Iannacones will be there ready to run. Especially now they have a new source of inspiration to keep them motivated through every mile.

“I’m going to make sure when it does get tough, he remembers grandpa and I’m telling you, that’s going to be the strength that gets him to the finish line,” Iannacone said.

This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest details.

 

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