Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 11, canceled amid pandemic

CHICAGO -- The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been canceled because of health concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers and others during the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced Monday.

Marathon organizers and city officials cited the challenge of staging the large-scale Oct. 11 event while COVID-19 endures.

As of Sunday, Chicago's health department had reported 55,184 confirmed cases of the virus and 2,682 deaths due to complications from COVID-19.

Chicago's event typically draws about 45,000 runners and wheelchair athletes and more than a million spectators.

"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,'' Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a release.

Organizers said registered participants are eligible for a refund or can defer their place and entry fee to the Chicago Marathon in 2021, 2022 or 2023.

"Hope drives us as runners and as humans,'' Carey Pinkowski, the executive race director of the Chicago Marathon, said in a release. "My hope was to see everyone on the start line on Sunday, October 11, but our highest priority has always been the safety of our participants and our volunteers.''

Organizers said they are working on plans for a virtual experience "to recognize the dedication and commitment of everyone who would have taken part in the 43rd running" of the marathon.

The New York City Marathon, scheduled for Nov. 1, also has been canceled. The Boston Marathon, scheduled for April 20, was postponed until Sept. 14 and later canceled.