The 124th Boston Marathon has been cancelled and has now gone virtual. Wow! Who would have ever foreseen that such an iconic marathon such as Boston would have to cancel? The event that has been held for over a hundred years and crowned many of the great marathoners of all time will not be held in 2020. This follows Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s cancellation of the marathon as a mass participation road running event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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, C.E.O. 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.”
The event which was originally scheduled for April 20, but was subsequently rescheduled for September. However as the weeks have passed planning for such an enormous event has been hard hit due to the uncertainty.
One of the Nation’s Oldest Events
The Boston Marathon is among the nation’s oldest events. The first running of the Boston had 15 participants and took place in 1897 after being inspired by the success of the 1896 Summer Olympics. Annually this event is one of the best-known road running races and is one of six marathons known as the World Marathon Majors. The others being Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.
Each year, the event draws hundreds of thousands of spectators on course and around the world watching on television and the internet. It is one of the largest events with over 30,000 participants.
Boston Marathon History
Over the years, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, Ibrahim Hussein, Robert de Castella, Alberto Salazar and Bill Rodgers. However there have been many iconic and tragic moments at the Boston.
Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb – Wins “Unofficially”
In 1966, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb won the women’s race but not officially because women were not thought to be able to run the full 26.2 mile distance. There was nothing in any rule books about gender.
Katherine Switzer – First to Official Win
In 1967, Katherine Switzer became the first women to official run and finish the event.
Rosie Ruiz Cheats Her Way to Victory
In 1980 Rosie Ruiz, finished first but organizers became suspicious. Upon further review they found that she had entered the event from the 1 mile to finish mark and ran in as the winner.
Geoffrey Mutai – Fastest Marathon of All-Time
In 2011, Geoffrey Mutai won the race in a very fast 2:03.02. In fact, the fastest time ever recorded over the marathon distance. However the International Amateur Athletic Federation did not ratify the time as a new world record. They found the course’s elevation from start to finish dropped too much.
In 2013 at 2:49 pm, two homemade bombs were set off. The race was halted and three spectators were killed and another 264 people were injured.
Bobbi Gibb Serves as Grand Marshal
In 2016, Bobbi Gibb who was the first to run the event in 1966 served as the Grand Marshal. Women’s winner, Atsede Baysa gave her winner’s trophy to Gibb.