BOSTON (CBS) – Runners have trained for the 2020 Boston Marathon not once, but twice: first for the marathon on April 20, then again for the marathon on September 14 when it was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, they won’t be able to run the 26.2-mile course from Hopkinton to Boston with hundreds of thousands of cheers.
For the first time in its 124-year history, the marathon as we know it is canceled.
“It’s really a blow, it’s totally unfortunate,” said Belmont resident and 15-time Boston Marathon runner Becca Pizzi. “In my mind I was hoping for a miracle, but…there’s no way they could’ve had it without a vaccine.”
Pizzi is the assistant coach for the John Hancock running team, and says runners knew the marathon would not be possible given the severity of the global pandemic that has killed 100,000 Americans.
While runners won’t run Heartbreak Hill, they’ll comfort each other through the heartbreak of a canceled marathon. “There’s no better community than the running community. We get it. We are there for each other,” Pizzi said.
Thousands of runners each year run the Boston Marathon to raise money for various charities.
Brookline resident and California native AJ Hernandez was planning on running his first ever Boston Marathon in 2020. He had raised more than $9,000 to benefit the nonprofit Esplanade Association.
“It’s tough,” he said. “I understand why it had to happen, but there’s something special about getting to run on Marathon Monday and actually cross the finish line.”
He plans to run the marathon “virtually,” sending his time to the BAA to qualify for a medal. He says he owes it to those on the front lines of the pandemic and everyone who has donated to his fundraising campaign.
“I think this just means that 2020 wasn’t my year,” he said. “But I will definitely be back for round two.”