Sunday, July 5, 2020

Uninterrupted for years, Boston Marathon ends its 123-year streak due to COVID-19

Boston Marathon, which began in 1897 to commemorate one year anniversary of the Summer Olympics, is the oldest annual marathon. The event is organized by Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) ever since its inception in 1897 in eastern Massachusetts. This event has been canceled for the first time in its 123-year history due to the social distancing guidelines which have been in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. The event, which attracts close to 500,000 spectators and 30,000 participants, was earlier postponed from April to September. However, B.A.A. decided to scrap the event altogether as conducting a large gathering could have major health implications due to the ongoing pandemic. This is unprecedented in the history of the Boston Marathon as this event was never canceled even during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1920. 

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For this year, the marathon will take place virtually where the participants have to complete 26.2 miles in 6 continuous hours and produce a proof to receive a finisher’s medal. The marathon can be completed at any time between September 7 and September 14. Citing an example when the marathon was interrupted by bomb blast seven years ago, Mayor Marty Walsh touted the marathon to signify the resilience of his city. He asked the people to keep the spirit of the game alive during these testing times. The C.E.O. of B.A.A., Tom Grilk, called this as difficult adjustment but the one that is reasonable as per the guidance of the public health officials.

The participants finishing the marathon under 6 hours will automatically qualify for the Boston Marathon next year to be held on April 19, 2021.

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