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Registration for 2021 Boston Marathon postponed

The 2020 Boston Marathon will be run virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Plans for the 2021 race are still up in the air.
The 2020 Boston Marathon will be run virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Plans for the 2021 race are still up in the air.Stew Milne/Associated Press

Participants who hope to run in the 125th Boston Marathon next April will have to wait a bit longer to register.

The Boston Athletic Association announced Thursday the formation of a COVID-19 Medical & Event Operations Advisory Group — comprised of medical, public safety, race operations experts, and city and state officials — to establish a framework to advise the B.A.A. on how the event can be held safely again.

The advisory group will provide a new timeline for registration, which was originally scheduled to take place in September.

The 124th Boston Marathon, postponed from April, will still take place virtually from Sept. 5 to 14.

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“COVID-19 has affected mass participation road races in ways that we never could have imagined,” said Tom Grilk, C.E.O. of the B.A.A. and co-chair of the advisory group. “Convening this cross-sector group of professionals with decades of experience in epidemiology, viral infection, mitigation strategies, and our own race operations was entirely necessary to begin planning for the 125th Boston Marathon.”

In addition to Grilk, the group includes college professors, hospital board members, and medical consultants among its members. The group will work in consultation with city and state officials, as well as a working committee of medical and road race operations professionals including B.A.A. Director of Operations Lauren Proshan.

Grilk’s co-chair is Dr. Aaron Baggish, the Director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at MGH and co-medical director for the B.A.A.

“We seek to determine with some specificity how and when large-scale road running events organized by the B.A.A. may be able to reasonably resume, while also providing input on which operational aspects will change as events are organized and managed,” said Baggish.

Grilk said that the B.A.A. needs to develop a better understanding of where the virus will be in the spring before it establishes a field size for the 2021 race.

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On March 13, the 2020 Boston Marathon was postponed to Sept. 14 by Mayor Marty Walsh. On May 28, Walsh announced the marathon would be cancelled as a live, mass participation road running event, and the B.A.A. announced it would be held as a virtual event from Sept. 5 to Sept 14, refunding all entry fees and offering the opportunity for runners to complete the 26.2-mile course within a six-hour time frame during that period.