El Maratón de Boston fue cancelado por primera vez en 124 años / Boston Marathon canceled for 1st time in 124-year history

BOSTON.- Los organizadores del Maratón de Boston confirmaron este jueves la cancelación de la histórica carrera de fondo por causa de la pandemia del coronavirus, es la primera cancelación en los 124 años de la competición.

El mítico maratón comenzó en 1897 cuando 15 hombres trazaron una línea de salida en la tierra en Ashland y se dirigieron a la ciudad para conmemorar los primeros Juegos Olímpicos modernos del año anterior.

Los organizadores de la carrera anunciaron que, en consecuencia, el Maratón de Boston tendrá este año un «evento virtual entre los días 7 y 14 de septiembre», en el que los participantes que verifiquen que corrieron 26,2 millas (42,165 kilómetros) por su cuenta recibirán la medalla de haberlo completado.

La carrera había sido programada originalmente para el 20 de abril antes de posponerse durante 5 meses debido a la pandemia de coronavirus.

Tom Grilk, CEO de la Asociación Atlética de Boston, responsable de la organización de la carrera, dijo a través de un comunicado que es la mejor decisión para todos ya que garantiza la seguridad de miles de atletas y personas, «si bien no podemos traer el mundo a Boston en septiembre, planeamos traer a Boston al mundo para un histórico 124º Maratón de Boston», subrayó.

«Aunque quisimos buscar la manera de combinar la competición deportiva con la recuperación económica, al final no fue posible, de ninguna de las maneras, para la fecha que habíamos establecido en septiembre».

La edición de 2021 de la tradicional carrera está programada para el 19 de abril, en tanto que la del 125 aniversario se fijó para el 18 de abril de 2022.

A todos los corredores que registraron para la prueba del 20 de abril de 2020 se les ofrecerá un reembolso completo de su tarifa de inscripción y podrán participar en la prueba virtual. EFE

Photo: Stephan Savoia, AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

Boston Marathon canceled for 1st time in 124-year history

BOSTON (AP) — Organizers canceled the Boston Marathon on Thursday for the first time in its history, bowing to the social distancing requirements of the coronavirus outbreak and ending a 124-year run that had persisted through two World Wars, a volcanic eruption and even another pandemic.

The race, which draws a field of 30,000 and already had been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14, will be replaced by a virtual event in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles (42.2 km) on their own will receive their finisher’s medal.

“It became clear as this crisis developed that Sept. 14 was less and less plausible,” Mayor Marty Walsh said at a news conference outside City Hall, where runners traditionally gather for a pre-race pasta dinner.

“This is a challenge, but meeting tough challenges is what the Boston Marathon is all about,” Walsh said, invoking the response to the finish line bombings seven years ago. “It’s a symbol of our city’s and our commonwealth’s resilience. So it’s incumbent upon all of us to dig deep, like a marathon runner, like we did in 2013, and keep that spirit alive.”

Although the title of Boston Marathon champion is contested by a few dozen elite athletes, the field includes more than 30,000 recreational and charity runners, with as many as 1 million people lined up along the course trek from Hopkinton to Boston’s Back Bay. That presented organizers with a social distancing problem that won’t be solved by the fall.

“There’s no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity,” Walsh said. “While our goal and our hope was to make progress in containing the virus and recovering our economy, this kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on Sept. 14 or any time this year.”

The longest-running annual marathon in the world, the Boston Marathon began in 1897 when 15 men drew a starting line in the dirt in Ashland and headed for the city to commemorate the first modern Olympic Games the previous year. In 1918, the format was modified to a relay due to World War I; the 2013 race was stopped when two bombs exploded at the finish line, several hours after the winners had finished but while many recreational runners were still on the course.

Boston Athletic Association CEO Tom Grilk said the race also had to adjust when temperatures along the course approached 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) in 2012; ten years ago, ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded air travel and prevented many European runners from coming to Boston.
“There is a pretty rich history of accommodation and addressing reality. This is this year’s reality,” Grilk said.

“The spirit of Boston and the spirit of the Boston Marathon is to be strong and to be smart. When necessity drives you in a direction you might not have liked, you need to have the strength, the wisdom and the guidance from public officials to do what’s right.”

The race was scheduled in April on the state holiday to commemorate the battles in Lexington and Concord that marked the start of the Revolutionary War. Traditionally, the Red Sox have scheduled their first pitch for that morning so baseball fans could wander over to Kenmore Square after the game to see the runners pass by with one mile to go.

In announcing postponement in March, Walsh cited the desire to salvage the estimated $211 million pumped into the city’s economy each year. The B.A.A. and marathon runners also raise about $40 million for charity.

The B.A.A. said those who paid the entry fee for this year’s race can get their money back. They will also have a chance to participate in the virtual marathon, which they can run between Sept. 7-14. A downloadable “virtual toolkit” will include a printable finish line and winner’s tape.

Those who provide proof of a finish in less than 6 hours will receive a program, T-shirt, medal and runner’s bib.

The Sept. 12 B.A.A. 5K also was canceled.

Qualifying times for this year’s race will be eligible for the 2021 Boston Marathon, which is scheduled for April 19. The 125th anniversary edition is scheduled for April 18, 2022. By JIMMY GOLEN