NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City Marathon, the world’s largest marathon, was canceled Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, with organizers and city officials deciding that holding the race on Nov. 1 would be too risky.
New York Road Runners announced the cancellation of the prestigious marathon, set to celebrate its 50th anniversary, after coordinating with the mayor’s office and deciding the race posed too many health and safety concerns for runners, volunteers, spectators and others.
“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,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We look forward to hosting the 50th running of the marathon in November of 2021.”
Last year’s marathon included a world record 53,640 finishers. Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya, the women’s world record holder in the half marathon, won last year’s race, her first-ever marathon, upsetting four-time champion Mary Keitany. Geoffrey Kamworor, also from Kenya, won the men’s event for the second time in three years.
“Cannot wait to compete in my next NYRR event, when it is safe to do so,” U.S. marathoner Emily Sisson tweeted Wednesday, adding a heart emoji.
Entrants for the 2020 race will be offered a full refund of their entry fee or a guaranteed entry to either the 2021, 2022 or 2023 marathon.
The 2021 New York City Marathon is scheduled for Nov. 7.
Runners registered for the 2020 marathon and others will be invited to participate in a virtual 26.2-mile race from Oct. 17-Nov. 1. Further details will be released in July.
The last time the New York City Marathon was canceled was in 2012, after Superstorm Sandy caused extensive damage in the city.
This year’s Berlin Marathon also was canceled Wednesday because of the pandemic. That race, one of the fastest marathons in the world, had been scheduled for Sept. 27.
Last month, the Boston Marathon was canceled for the first time in its 124-year history, and organizers announced a virtual event would be held instead, with participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles (42.2 km) on their own receiving a finisher’s medal.
The Boston Marathon, which draws a field of 30,000, had originally been scheduled for April 20 before being postponed for five months because of the pandemic.