The 2020 New York City Marathon Cancelled Over Coronavirus Concerns
The New York City Marathon, the world’s largest marathon and one of the city’s biggest annual spectacles, has been canceled this year as concerns about the spread of the coronavirus continue to dash hopes of holding large-scale events, organizers announced Wednesday.
The race, one of the most prestigious and lucrative events of its kind, would have celebrated its 50th anniversary in November. It is one of the highlights of fall in New York and on the endurance sports calendar, attracting more than 50,000 runners, 10,000 volunteers and roughly one million fans, who line nearly every accessible yard of the 26.2-mile course through the five boroughs.
City officials and New York Road Runners, which owns and organizes the event, decided holding the race would be too risky. Public health experts have said mass events, especially those that bring people together from across the globe, will remain a danger until a treatment or a vaccine for Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, is widely available.
White House officials have issued warnings about another wave of infections this fall. And while infection rates in the New York metropolitan area are now among the lowest in the country, the virus is spreading at concerning rates in areas that have not heeded the advice of public health officials to continue to practice social distancing, avoid public gatherings and wear masks. Cases were rising in 26 states on Tuesday night.
Following those guidelines while holding a major race is simply impossible, leaving the endurance sports business economically devastated this year.
Michael Capiraso, the chief executive of New York Road Runners, said he and other organizers had held out hope that the race could happen. They decided to cancel before having to spend more money to organize it.
“There was hope but that turned to uncertainty, and given what we have seen the past months this was really the only decision,” Capiraso said.
Runners who had signed up for this year’s race will be able to choose to receive a refund or to defer their entry to the race during the next three years. They will also have the option to run the race virtually. Organizers said they would announce details of the virtual event in July.
In the New York marathon, the runners and thousands of volunteers are transported to a starting line village at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, where they huddle and wait for hours to be called to the start at the foot of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. The runners then cram into a series of starting corrals while they wait for a cannon sound to signal the start of the race.
posted Wednesday June 24th
by Matthew Futterman