Coronavirus: Boston Marathon cancelled and will be held as virtual event

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The 2020 Boston Marathon has been cancelled for the first time in its history, as event organisers confirmed the event would be held virtually.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the race – initially due to take place on April 20 – was postponed until September 14.

However, with Boston mayor Martin Walsh having now cancelled the event, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has confirmed it will be held as a virtual contest in its 124th year.

"Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters," said Tom Grilk, chief executive of the B.A.A.

"While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon."

A B.A.A. statement confirmed all participants who were registered for the race will be offered a refund of their entry fee, while they will also be given the chance to participate in the virtual alternative.

The route can be run any time during the week of September 7-14, with participants required to complete the 26.2 mile distance within six hours.