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Chicago Marathon Canceled For 2nd Time Ever Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

The race was set for Oct. 11, but officials announced Monday it has been canceled due to the health crisis.

File Photo: The lead pack of the Chicago Marathon run through Old Town in October 2016.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The Chicago Marathon has been canceled for the second time in the race’s history due to to the coronavirus pandemic.

The race was set for Oct. 11, but officials announced Monday it has been canceled due to the health crisis. Related activities, like the International Chicago 5K and the Health & Fitness Expo, have also been nixed.

The race typically attracts tens of thousands of participants and is one of the largest in the world.

But runners had anticipated the marathon would be canceled — as similar races throughout the country have been — due to COVID-19.

“While we had hoped to hold the event, we also felt a responsibility to the health and wellbeing of our event participants, volunteers, event staff, vendors, city partners and spectators, as well as the communities and neighborhoods that line the 26.2 mile course route,” organizers wrote on the race’s website. “The planning, resources and coordination needed to produce an event of this magnitude would have added a tremendous amount of constraint on city resources that are already taxed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The decision was reached with all of these factors in mind.”

Those who’d signed up for the race will be eligible for a full refund or they can defer their entry fee to a future race.

The refund process could take “several weeks or months,” organizers said on the site.

Organizers are also looking to create a virtual event, though details of that have not yet been announced.

The Chicago Marathon has been held since 1905, though the current series of races started in 1977. It’s been held every year since — except in 1987, when it was canceled after a sponsor dropped out.

Runners often raise money for various charitable causes.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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