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2020 Chicago Marathon canceled due to coronavirus pandemic

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been canceled this year "in response to the ongoing public health concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic," the city and event organizers announced Monday. The race was originally scheduled for October 11.

"For 42 years, runners, volunteers, and spectators have shown up on the streets of Chicago to turn an individual sport into a collective experience," the marathon tweeted Monday. "While we'd hoped to continue the tradition this October, the health and safety of everyone participating is our highest priority."

All registered participants have the choice to either receive a refund for this year's race entry or to defer their place and fee to the 2021, 2022 or 2023 race, according to a press release on the marathon's website.

Athletes who choose to receive a refund may have to wait a while. The marathon said it expects the refund process to take several weeks or even months "due to the complexities of cancelling the event and the anticipated quantity of refunds."

"The Chicago Marathon is our city's beloved annual celebration of more than 45,000 runners, as well as tens of thousands of volunteers, spectators and city residents, all of whom come together race weekend as one community here in our city," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, reports CBS Chicago. "Like all Chicagoans, I'm personally disappointed that this year's event won't take place as originally planned, however, we look forward to welcoming all runners and their cheering squads once again when the Chicago Marathon returns to our city in full force for another very exciting race."

While the race is off this year, the marathon says it is "actively preparing" for the 2021 marathon. Organizers have not "determined" race dates for the 2021, 2022 and 2023 events, but, "historically the Chicago Marathon has been held the second Sunday of October," its website stated.

"We understand the disappointment, but when we return to the streets of Chicago, it will be a celebratory moment and an uncompromising statement about the collective spirit of who we are as a running community: we are powerful, we are persistent, and we will reach the finish line again," said the marathon's executive race director, Carey Pinkowski, reports CBS Chicago. 

The event is one of the most recent notable races to be scrapped amid the pandemic.

In May the Boston Marathon was canceled for the first time in its 124-year history after previously being postponed. The annual race will now be held virtually in September. The New York City Marathon, the world's largest, was canceled in June. This year's event would have been the 50th running of the race in November. 

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