The Twin Cities Marathon is canceling its signature race and associated events for the rest of this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The marathon’s organizer, Twin Cities in Motion, says it is making all its running events virtual, including the approaching Red White and Boom 5k, relay and half marathon scheduled for the Fourth of July.
The move also includes two of the state’s highest profile running events, the Medtronic TC 10 Mile and Twin Cities Marathon events scheduled to be run between Minneapolis and St. Paul on Oct. 4.
It would have been the 40th annual running of the marathon.
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“This is a decision that was very hard to make,” said Virginia Brophy Achman, executive director of the marathon. “But it's very important that we keep the health and safety of our entire community first and foremost, whether it's the runners, volunteers, spectators or just the community at large. It’s important to do the right thing, and it's never easy.”
Organizers said they’d decided in consultation with public health experts to cancel in-person events and wanted to give runners and volunteers enough time to easily change travel and training plans.
They are offering credit to registered participants but won’t be offering refunds or deferrals for next year because so many expenses are fixed and have to be paid as much as a year in advance.
Participants will still get medals, shirts and other items that are part of the registration and participation package. They’re being encouraged to run the events individually and report their times to event organizers.
The marathon is just the latest major event to be canceled. Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth was scuttled this year, as was the Boston Marathon, after initially delaying it until fall.
The Minnesota State Fair and the Twin Cities Pride Festival were also canceled this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak.