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Hopkinton to runners: Please don’t show up Monday and run the Boston Marathon route

The town and officials from the Boston Athletic Association are urging people to stay home, or take a lap somewhere else.

A sign reading "Welcome to Hopkinton: It All Starts Here" near the starting line of last year's Boston Marathon. Hopkinton town officials and the BAA are urging runners not to show up at the starting line or run the route of the marathon, which has been postponed until Sept. 14.
A sign reading "Welcome to Hopkinton: It All Starts Here" near the starting line of last year's Boston Marathon. Hopkinton town officials and the BAA are urging runners not to show up at the starting line or run the route of the marathon, which has been postponed until Sept. 14.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

If you had it in your mind that it might be a nice symbolic gesture to show up at the starting line of the Boston Marathon route on Monday, and maybe pound pavement until you reach the city — please don’t.

That’s the directive from officials in the town of Hopkinton and the Boston Athletic Association, who on Wednesday put out a statement “strongly urging runners to refrain from coming to the start line” of the historic 26.2-mile route or “attempting to run the marathon course.”

“In the spirit of keeping not only those who run, but the citizens of Hopkinton and its first responders safe, we are asking everyone to continue complying with the Commonwealth’s Stay-at-Home Advisory,” Hopkinton Select Board vice chairman and Boston Athletic Association liaison John Coutinho said in a statement.

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Walsh asks runners not to run the marathon route
Mayor Martin Walsh asks runners not to run the Boston Marathon route. (Video: Handout, Photo by Blake Nissen/ For The Boston Globe))

Town officials said parking restrictions will be put in place in downtown Hopkinton, around the Town Common, and anywhere else near the starting line where runners would typically congregate on Monday.

The marathon was scheduled to take place Monday, April 20. But last month, as cases of the novel coronavirus continued to appear, state and local officials and the BAA made the call to postpone it until Sept. 14. It will be the first time in its 124-year history that the race will not be held on Patriots Day in April.

In a follow-up e-mail to the Globe Thursday, Coutinho said there was an “unprecedented showing of respect” by Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and other elected officials along the marathon route to collaborate in rescheduling.

“All runners, as a patriotic gesture, should show the same respect to the Grande Dame of marathons and wait until September,” he said.

It’s unclear if people are actually planning to lace up and head to Hopkinton. But the idea could be enticing as residents have sought exercise outdoors after being stuck inside because of the state’s stay-at-home-advisory. Avid runners — and those out for a leisurely stroll — have said it feels like there’s been an uptick in runners recently.

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This isn’t the first time that officials have raised the issue of people potentially showing up to run, despite the event’s postponement. When the race’s delay was announced in March, Walsh also asked that people refrain from traveling the course.

"Some people are talking about running the marathon on the 20th,” Walsh said at the time. “We’re asking you not to do that.”

Walsh added, "If a large group of runners decides to do that, you’re taking resources away, potentially very important resources away from something else.”

In the same advisory released Wednesday by Hopkinton officials, the BAA reiterated the plea. The organization said showing up to run could end up diverting “valuable, urgent resources” from the cities and towns along the course, including the law enforcement officials, medical personnel, and first responders currently on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic.

“We urge anyone considering running the Boston Marathon course this weekend to stay home, follow social distancing guidelines, and help flatten the curve," the organization said. “We must work together to stop the spread of coronavirus, so we can run again in September."


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.