The world's largest marathon won't be held in 2020.
Organizers announced Wednesday the New York City Marathon has been canceled due to ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, becoming the third of the six major international marathons to be canceled this year.
The 26.2-mile race, held annually in November while welcoming thousands of runners from other countries and inside the U.S., was slated to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Runners who signed up will be refunded and those who qualified for the raffle for admission can defer over three years. The decision to host a marathon with only elite-level runners was ruled out.
Large-scale events like New York City Marathon — with more than 50,000 runners and 10,000 volunteers — present too much risk, organizers from New York Road Runners and city officials determined based on input from public health inspectors. A virtual event will be an option this year, although there were no details available Wednesday.
“There was hope but that turned to uncertainty, and given what we have seen the past months this was really the only decision," said Michael Capiraso, the chief executive of New York Road Runners.
Without a vaccine for COVID-19, concerns for a second wave of the virus spreading have been raised for events in the fall. According to The New York Times, half of the country's states were seeing increases in COVID-19 cases.
The New York City Marathon was canceled previously in 2012 following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
The Boston Marathon was also canceled this year. While other fall marathons have yet to be canceled, it's unclear how the country's biggest race being canceled will affect other smaller races in different states. The Marine Corps Marathon and Chicago Marathon are typically held in October and have yet to be fully canceled.