Boston Marathon still on, mayor says; New Bedford qualifier canceled


BOSTON, Mass. (AP/WPRI) — A day after Boston canceled its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade over concerns about the new coronavirus, Mayor Marty Walsh said the Boston Marathon will be held on April 20 as scheduled.

Walsh said Tuesday that conversations with other stakeholders involved in the marathon are ongoing. The marathon expects about 31,000 runners as well as million spectators this year and pumps more than $200 million into the city’s economy.

Democratic leaders at the Massachusetts Statehouse are preparing a $15 million emergency budget to help cover virus-related costs.

Related: Gov. Baker enacts state of emergency » | More coronavirus coverage »

In the meantime, a Boston Marathon qualifier, the New Bedford Half Marathon, was canceled on Tuesday.

“The decision was not made lightly,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said in a statement. “The New Bedford Half Marathon is one of the oldest and most popular half marathons in the country.”

The city said that while there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in the area, the unique nature of the event poses a higher risk. The race attracts around 3,000 runners, some from places where cases have been confirmed, officials noted.

“While no other public events in New Bedford have been canceled, decisions regarding future public events in the city will be based on the overall risk level and the nature of the event,” Mitchell added. “I wish to thank all of the volunteers who have worked hard to organize the race and I ask for their understanding, along with those local businesses that benefit from the race, that this decision is made to protect the public.”

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