BOSTON (CBS) – The Head of the Charles will not be held this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. This marks only the second time in 55 years the two-day regatta has been canceled.
The event was scheduled for October.
Instead, participants will be able to compete by racing the 4,702 meter course on their own body of water, or on an ergometer.
“Our top priority has always been to hold a regatta that is safe, fun and competitive. While we are deeply disappointed that health and safety conditions as a result of the continuation of the Covid-19 virus throughout the world prohibit us from doing that this year, our team has been hard at work to develop a global remote event to be held this October,” Fred Schoch, executive director of the Head Of The Charles Regatta said in a statement.
The only other time the regatta was canceled was 1996 due to a rain and wind storm.
“As someone who has stood on the banks of the Charles off and on for 40 years, enjoying the race, I, like so many other fans of the Regatta, am saddened by this announcement, but can totally understand the decision,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. “Covid changes many things and it is better to be safe. My very best wishes to all of the competitors and we all look forward to having the Regatta back on the Charles River next year.”
About 11,000 athletes participate in the Head of the Charles each year and more than 1,800 volunteers work the event.
An economic analysis performed last year found the race generated more than $75 million in economic impact for the state.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many of Boston’s favorite and important traditions, but it also has proven that whenever Boston is challenged, we respond with resiliency,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “I want to thank the board of the Head of the Charles Regatta which decided to reimagine this year’s race as a remote event. As a city, and across all sectors, we are taking collective action to keep our residents safe and healthy. I look forward to welcoming back all of the competitors next year.”