Long-distance runners, bad news: The New York City Marathon just got canceled for 2020. Event organizers and the mayor's office said Wednesday it's just too dangerous to assemble some 50,000 runners in the middle of a pandemic, TMZ reports. They cited "coronavirus-related health and safety concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers, staff, and the many partners and communities that support the event." The decision comes amid rising COVID-19 case numbers across 26 states and warnings that mass events will remain risky until there's a treatment or vaccine, per the New York Times. New York City's infection rates are among America's lowest, but that wasn't enough to salvage the Nov. 1 event.
"There was hope but that turned to uncertainty, and given what we have seen the past months this was really the only decision," says Michael Capiraso, head of New York Road Runners, which owns and runs the marathon. Registered runners are now eligible for a full refund or entry to a future NYC Marathon in 2021, 2022, or 2023. They can also join the 50th running of the marathon virtually this fall, per the New York Post, but details on that are pending. Mayor Bill de Blasio said while the marathon "is an iconic and beloved event in our city," he applauded "New York Road Runners for putting the health and safety of both spectators and runners first." (Read more marathon stories.)