BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Marathon has been postponed to because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The race will be on Sept. 14, 2020, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday at a press conference along with Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Athletic Association Chief Executive Officer Thomas Grilk, and John Hancock CEO Marianne Harrison.
“Our plan is to make the weekend of Sept. 14 a cornerstone in a campaign to help businesses, local businesses recover from this entire episode,” said Walsh. “Our priority right now is making sure the health and safety of the runners, of the fans, of the medical personnel, first responders, residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, visitors from across the country, visitors from across the world.”
He discouraged anyone from trying to run the course on April 20. “You have a chance to run a historic one-in-a-lifetime race in September and I hope that all the runners and people will embrace it,” said Walsh.
“Obviously postponing the marathon is an incredibly difficult thing to do,” Baker said. “It’s one of the most iconic and patriotic events for our commonwealth and it will not be the same if it doesn’t happen right around the time as we all recall that the American Revolution began many years ago.”
The governor will file a bill to make Sept. 14 a special holiday.
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Officials from the eight cities and towns on the route – Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and Boston – met Wednesday at Boston City Hall to talk about a change of date for the race, a day after Gov. Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts on Tuesday.
The race has never been canceled or rescheduled in its 124-year history. The marathon brings in more than $200 million to Boston’s economy each year, according to Walsh, and raises $36 million for charities. Walsh said there was a lot of coordination with communities along the race route to settle on the date.
“To our nonprofit partners, and especially the hospitals, please know we are thinking of you, our community relies on you and we continue to stand by you,” Harrison said. “To our non-profit runners, the marathon date is changing, but your ability to make an impact isn’t. Please keep raising funds.”
Runners said they were relieved the marathon is just postponed instead of cancelled. Runner Jen Buller, principal of Coolidge Corner Elementary School, runs to support the kids at her school and said she is thrilled that the race is still on.
“I just feel really lucky to be part of a group of people who’s going to run the first and hopefully only fall marathon in Boston which is really cool,” she said.
Earlier this month, Rome canceled its marathon and Paris moved its race to October because of coronavirus concerns.
“The metaphor here writes itself,” Baker added. “We’re on the first leg of a marathon of our own as we battle this very serious disease.”
The BAA said there would be more information for runners about the postponement within a week.
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute responded to the postponement with a statement saying, in part:
“Dana-Farber Cancer Institute thanks and fully supports the Boston Athletic Association and collaborating authorities for their commitment to the health and safety of participants, spectators, and everyone involved with the world’s oldest annual marathon, and for their tireless work to ensure that the Marathon will be held later this year.”
About 30,000 people run the Boston Marathon each year with about a million spectators along the 26.2-mile course.