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The 2020 Boston Marathon has officially been postponed to Monday, Sept. 14, in an effort to contain the coronavirus spread, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday morning.
"Our expectation ... is that this date will get us to a safer place with relation to the spread of the coronavirus," Walsh said.
It will be the first time in the marathon’s 124-year history that the race will not be held on its traditional April date. This year, the race was previously scheduled for Monday, April 20.
Walsh said the health of runners, marathon staff and spectators is the city's top priority. He noted that officials are particularly concerned about vulnerable populations, elderly residents and the capacity of the health care system.
"We've shown before that no matter what the challenge is to our marathon and to our city, we are Boston strong. And that's what we will be again this year."Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
Walsh added that the marathon represents Boston and the greater commonwealth.
"It connects us, it reflect us, it brings out our community spirit and our resiliency. We've shown before that no matter what the challenge is to our marathon and to our city, we are Boston strong," the mayor said. "And that's what we will be again this year. In the face of this crisis and Marathon Monday, we are going to continue to lead in the country."
Walsh urged runners not to attempt the race on April 20, no matter what the state of the coronavirus in Massachusetts may be. Road closures will not be in place that day, nor will first responders be readily available, Walsh said.
Gov. Charlie Baker said he will be filing a bill to officially designate Sept. 14 as Marathon Monday this year.
"As we have seen before, this particular Boston Marathon does define resilience," Baker said. "And I think everybody — once we get there — will feel the same way they always feel on marathon day. I certainly think it will also give us a great opportunity to once again cheer everyone as they cross that finish line and compete in the race."
Every year, the Boston Marathon draws runners and visitors from the world and generates $200 million for the local economy.
News of the postponement comes amid widespread cancelations in the sports world. In the past 48 hours, the NBA and NHL have suspended their seasons. The MLB canceled Spring Training and postponed Opening Day by two weeks. The NCAA canceled all winter championships, including the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments known as March Madness.
Runners reacted to the news in tweets on Friday morning, with many saying that they understood why the change was needed:
To watch the full announcement, click here.
With additional reporting from WBUR's Shira Springer
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