NYC Marathon canceled due to COVID concerns

‘Health and safety’ override importance of 50th anniversary race


Brooklynites looking forward to watching the world’s largest marathon snake through our borough, be it off the Verrazano Bridge and onto Fourth Avenue or down the streets of Sunset Park, Wiliamsburg and Greenpoint, will have to wait another year, according to the New York Road Runners Club.

The NYRR, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of the City of New York, on Wednesday morning officially canceled the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon, originally scheduled for Nov. 1, due to health and safety concerns stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Just as sporting leagues like the NHL, NBA and MLB are formulating and carrying out plans to begin their respective seasons next month, the 50th anniversary of the NYC Marathon, which goes through all five boroughs before culminating in Central Park, will be pushed back to 2021.

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“While the marathon is an iconic and beloved event in our city, I applaud New York Road Runners for putting the health and safety of both spectators and runners first,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio after the organization cited safety concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers, staff and the many partners and communities that support the event for the cancellation.

“We look forward to hosting the 50th running of the marathon in November of 2021.”

The NYC Marathon began in 1970 as a niche event with several thousand runners, and has swelled into an international race that saw 53,640 runners cross the finish line in 2019.

Officially rescheduled for Nov. 7, 2021, the golden anniversary running of the 26.2-mile race through the Big Apple wasn’t worth the risk of staging if it coincided with what many medical experts say could be a secondary surge of the novel coronavirus in the fall.

Hence, the painful decision to push the event back a year in the hopes that the race could be run without the pall of potential illness hovering above and around the world’s best marathoners, not to mention the millions who fill the streets to witness the NYC Marathon.

“Canceling this year’s TCS New York City Marathon is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved, but it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective,” said NYRR president and CEO Michael Capiraso.

Runners registered for the marathon will be contacted by NYRR by July 15, with more information regarding the cancellation resolution details, including the option to receive a full refund of entry fee or a guaranteed complimentary entry in either 2021, 2022 or 2023.

Competitors who gained entry through a charity or tour operator should reach out beginning July 1 to that organization for the options available to them, the NYRR release indicated.

Runners registered for the race and others from around the world will also be invited to participate in the third annual TCS New York City Marathon – Virtual 26.2M taking place from Oct. 17 through Nov. 1. Further details on the virtual marathon will be released next month.

NYRR, which already had to cancel the 2020 Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K, which was scheduled for Oct. 31, will continue to work closely with government officials regarding the status of other in-person programs in 2020, with the likelihood of additional cancellations to be announced this summer.

In other words, wait ’till next year.

“Marathon Day and the many related events and activities during race week are part of the heart and soul of New York City and the global running community,” noted Capiraso. “And we look forward to coming together next year.”

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