Home > The Scene

Boston Marathon will not take place in spring 2021

For the second year in a row, COVID-19 has forced the B.A.A. to move its premier event

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced on Wednesday that the 2021 Boston Marathon will be postponed “until at least the fall of 2021.” Next year’s race will be the 125th running of the storied event, which is traditionally held on the third Monday of April (Patriots’ Day in the U.S.). The B.A.A. wrote that organizers have been working closely with a COVID-19 advisory group, and after careful consideration, they decided that, based on the current status of the pandemic, it’s unlikely that a spring race could be run as planned. No date has been chosen yet for the marathon, but with the decision made to postpone, the B.A.A. can now begin talks with city and state officials and other race stakeholders to determine if a fall race is possible. 

Another cancellation

The pandemic already forced the B.A.A. to postpone the 2020 Boston Marathon, and now COVID-19 has moved the 2021 event, too. This year’s race was moved from April 20 to September 14, but organizers ultimately cancelled the run and transitioned to a virtual format instead. In an attempt to avoid another short-notice postponement next spring, the B.A.A. opted to take a proactive approach and reschedule the event now, giving the team about a year (depending on the date they choose for the 2021 race) to plan for a fall race.  

RELATED: Natasha Wodak is moving up to the marathon

“With fewer than six months until Patriots’ Day and with road races prohibited until Phase 4 of the Massachusetts reopening plan, we are unable to host the Boston Marathon this coming April,” said B.A.A. CEO Tom Grilk. “By shifting our focus to a fall date, we can continue to work with stakeholders to adjust the in-person experience for runners and supporters alike.” The B.A.A. press release says a decision regarding the Boston Marathon’s new date will be made before the end of the year, and subsequent details — such as registration dates and field size — will follow soon after (although nothing has been said specifically regarding qualification). 

ADVERTISEMENT

World Marathon Majors 

The decision to move the Boston Marathon to later in 2021 came just a few weeks after organizers of the Tokyo Marathon (which is usually held in February or March) made a similar call and moved their race to October 17. If Boston does go ahead next fall, the 2021 marathon calendar will be absolutely packed. As it stands right now, there will be at least four weekends in a row with a World Marathon Major.

RELATED: Tokyo Marathon to be postponed until late 2021

The race streak will start with the Berlin Marathon on September 26, followed by the London Marathon October 3 (after being moved from its traditional April run date as well), Chicago on October 10 and Tokyo on October 17. Scheduled for November 7, the New York City Marathon is just a few weeks after Tokyo. If Boston is moved to the fall, it could extend that run of marathons to five straight weeks. That would make for a wild fall of marathon-viewing for running fans, but for now, organizers can’t even be sure that races set for 12 months from now will be able to run as planned.