Marty Walsh: When it comes to canceling the Boston Marathon, ‘we’re not there yet’

In its 124-year history, the Marathon has never been canceled.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said there are "conversations" being had about the future of the Boston Marathon. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe, File

The Rome Marathon has been canceled, the Barcelona Marathon postponed, and the Tokyo Marathon limited to elite runners as a result of the global spread of coronavirus. With more than a month to go until the Boston Marathon is run on April 20, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is watching what is happening around the world, but there is no official decision about the race’s future.

“The marathon is something we’re having conversations about,” Walsh said in an appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” Tuesday. “There’s been three or four cancelled around the world. We’re not there yet, but we still have many conversations to have.”

Heading into its 124th year, the race has never been canceled. The only change came in 1918, when a military relay race was held instead to recognize World War I.

“The Boston Athletic Association continues to meet and work closely with city and state officials to ensure a safe and successful Boston Marathon,” read a Boston Athletic Association statement. “We have been carefully monitoring updates related to coronavirus and as local and national developments come to light have been planning under the guidance of health and municipal agencies.

We will continue working with city and state officials, and we will closely follow updates from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Public Health, and World Health Organization. The B.A.A. will adhere to policies put forth by the federal, state, and local governments.”

In Massachusetts, Harvard and other colleges have asked students to not return to campus after spring break, favoring online instruction due to concerns about the spread of the virus. MIT is suspending in-person classes with more than 150 students, and Boston University has asked faculty to prepare for virtual teaching.


Norwood’s town manager and an elementary school student in Arlington, whose mother is an employee at Biogen, tested positive for the virus to bring the total number of cases in the state to 41 as of Monday.

The Rome Marathon was canceled last week as the country braced for a lockdown amid the largest outbreak of the virus outside of China. Barcelona’s race, originally scheduled for March 15, was moved to Oct. 25.



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