2021 Boston Marathon moved from April slot over virus concerns

New York (AFP) –


The 2021 Boston Marathon will be moved from its traditional slot in April until later next year because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said Wednesday.

The prestigious event -- which was cancelled this year for the first time in the race's 124-year history -- is usually held on the third Monday in April, attracting thousands of runners from across the globe.

However, in a statement on Wednesday, the Boston Athletic Association said next year's event would now be postponed "until at least the fall of 2021." No date for the rearranged race was given.

The BAA said it would continue meeting with public health, city and state officials to determine how the Boston Marathon could be held again.

"With fewer than six months (to go) and with road races prohibited until phase 4 of the Massachusetts reopening plan, we are unable to host the Boston Marathon this coming April," BAA chief executive Tom Grilk said.

"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 including a potential reduced field size or weekend date."

The BAA said it hoped to announce a new date by the end of 2020.

"We are optimistic that the Boston Marathon will continue its tradition of celebrating the spirit of community and athletic excellence next fall," Grilk said. "We know there will be many questions and we will look to address them in the coming months ahead."

The announcement comes with Covid-19 cases spiking across the United States, which has registered more than 8.8 million cases and 227,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Covid-19 decimated this year's major marathon schedule, with races in Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York all cancelled. The London Marathon took place in October but limited the field to elite runners only.