Marathon Runners

2020 Boston Marathon Officially Cancelled For The First Time In 124 Years

Organizers of the Boston Marathon announced this week that for the first time in the event’s history the marathon will be cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic. Originally, event planners were trying to work out a feasible way of implementing social distancing lanes of running so that everyone would be in their own space, however, as case numbers continued to increase and America became the most Covid-19 infected country in the world, they soon realized it just wouldn’t be possible. 

The Boston Marathon originally began 124 years ago, persisting through both world wars, a volcanic eruption, and a whole other pandemic. The race itself typically draws a crowd of 30,000 athletes from all over the world. Originally, when the coronavirus pandemic was just starting to impact citizens of the US, marathon organizers moved the event from April 20th to the beginning of September. However, now that we really know how unpredictable the coronavirus is, the event has been fully cancelled and will instead take on a more virtual format. 

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“It became clear as this crisis developed that Sept. 14 was less and less plausible. This is a challenge, but meeting tough challenges is what the Boston Marathon is all about,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at a news conference outside City Hall, going on to bring up 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.”

As previously mentioned the Boston Marathon typically has 30,000 recreational, charity, and professional runners participate in it, but the event itself draws in a crowd of up to 1 million. Fans line up every year from Hopkinton to Boston’s Back Bay as they cheer on their friends and family while they race to the finish line. This route is also the reason that organizers knew creating a social distance means of running the marathon wouldn’t work. 

“There’s no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity. 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,” Walsh said.

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The Boston Marathon is the longest-running annual marathon in America. It originally began in 1897 and the first race consisted of 15 men racing on a dirt path in Ashland and heading into the heart of the city. In 1918 the city modified the marathon format to be more like a relay race amid World War 1. 

Besides that, the only other times the Boston Marathon had to “adjust” the way it was organized was in 2012 when temperatures in the city hit 90 degrees and it was too dangerous for individuals to be running for that long, and in 2010 when a volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded air travel and prevented thousands of runners from Europe from participating in the event. 

“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,” Boston Athletic Association CEO Tom Grilk said.

Mayor Walsh went on in his speech now to say that those who already paid their entry fee for this year’s race will receive a full refund and will have the opportunity to participate in a virtual marathon. Between September 7th-14th, the city of Boston will post a “virtual toolkit” that will include a printable finish line and winners tape for those who want to “run the marathon” at home. Those who provide evidence of finishing the marathon in less than 6 hours will receive a program, T-shirt, medal, and runners bib; per tradition.

UFC Fighter

UFC Fighters Eager To Return To Normalcy This Weekend With ‘UFC 249’

UFC is holding one of the first major sporting events during the coronavirus pandemic this Saturday night in Florida, where Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje will go head to head in the octagon. The pay-per-view show is meant to show the world that sports and entertainment in general is still thriving, and will return to normal eventually. 

Ferguson recently stated in an interview that both him and Gaethje want to “go out there and keep sports alive.” Both fighters flew into Jacksonville this week and were immediately tested for Covid-19 when they landed, along with every other member of each fighter’s team and the members of production for the event.

In separate interviews, the 24 fighters participating at UFC 249 all expressed that they were aware of the risks that come with competing in a sporting event that requires close-contact amongst the participants involved, however, UFC is taking all the necessary precautions that they need to to ensure everyone stays safe; there’s always going to be risk though. 

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Ferguson and Gaethje both believe that the sporting rewards outweigh the risks in this case. By fighting this Saturday, they’re setting an example for other sporting industries and proving that the parts of the “game” that fans know and love can continue to live on, just in a modified fan-free arena setting. 

WWE has also been continuing on with their regularly scheduled weekly programming in front of crowdless arenas. Just recently they held their annual Wrestlemania event – which is the equivalent to the SuperBowl for WWE fans – for the first time in front of an empty arena, and did so rather successfully.

“We’re going to bring a sense of normalcy to people. I’m proud to be a part of it. It’s the opportunity to inspire. People need to be inspired right now. They need to not let themselves become depressed (or) emotional because they can’t control what’s going on right now. We’ve got to ride it through. They need to be inspired, and we can do that,” Gaethje said in a phone interview. 

Ferguson added in the same interview: “I honestly had no reservations. Fighting is very dangerous, so I think we’ll be just fine.”

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The two are competing for the interim UFC lightweight title this Saturday. President of UFC, Dana White, recently said that she and her team never wanted to stop competition when this pandemic grew. They saw how industries like WWE were managing to stay relevant and alive during this uncertain time and wanted to do everything in her power to do the same for UFC. Luckily for White, all of the UFC fighters she contacted were bored and ready to get back to work the second they could do so safely. 

“There’s not very often you’re going to get to fight for a world title, much less during a pandemic when there’s zero sports going on, and you’re going to be the only one on TV. You have to face your fears. You’ve got to go out there and take the chances when they’re presented. … We get to put paychecks in our own pocket, and we get to put a paycheck in every UFC employee’s pocket that’s going to work this event and we get to inspire people to not give up right now,” Gaethje said. 

UFC 249 will be taking place this Saturday on pay-per-view and will be followed by additional UFC shows taking place on May 13th, May 16th and possible May 23rd as well, depending on how the next few weeks go.