The Boston Athletic Association, surprising pretty much no one, has announced that the City of Boston has nixed the Boston Marathon that had been postponed from April until Sept. 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BAA has come up with a plan to try to soften the blow by allowing those registered to get refunds and instead run a virtual marathon that will still reward them with medals and other swag. That is, if they can complete a 26.2-mile route between Sept. 7-14 and prove they did it in less than 6 hours.
While this is not the outcome runners hoped for, it does at least provide clarity on training, which runners up to now were challenged to figure out. It’s still unclear what fees might be associated with taking part in the virtual race, which will no doubt take part across many areas of Wellesley (except maybe Maugus Road and other big hills) and other communities along the official course. We suspect the BAA will come out with some sort of rules designed to discourage thousands of runners from hitting the official course at the same time during that Sept. 7-14 window.
Virtual race times will not count as qualifiers for the 2021 marathon, but qualifying times for the 2020 race will. Those running for charities should consult with their running teams for further details on fundraising deadlines.
More than 30,000 runners were to take part in the marathon, which is being canceled for the first time in its 124-year history.
When we spoke wth those from Wellesley or running on behalf of Wellesley organizations in April, after the initial postponement, we heard a mixed response. While they were all understanding of the decision, they took different strategies toward training for the new date. Now they’ve got another decision to make.