Coronavirus: With Boston Marathon postponed, elite runners face compact schedule

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut (WABC) -- Monday is Patriots' Day in Boston, the day the city traditionally hosts a Red Sox game and the iconic Boston Marathon.

But more than 30,000 runners will now wait until September 14, as the event was postponed for the first time in history amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It's the oldest annual marathon in the world and has been run every year since 1897, although 1918 saw a marathon military relay. John Raneri is an elite runner who grew up in New Fairfield, Connecticut, and was well into his training program when he heard the news last month.

"We were about halfway into it, until we found out," he said. "I was supposed to run the New York City Half Marathon, and that got canceled. And then a couple days later, Boston...This goes without saying, but the health and safety of our country absolutely comes first."

Raneri is coming off an impressive NYC Marathon debut in which he finished 15th overall and was looking to carry that momentum into Boston. He knew the field would be a little different, with many of the top American runners having taken part in the Olympic trials in February.

"We thought it would be a good opportunity to do Boston in the same year as the Olympic trials, you know, have an opportunity to be a top three American," he said. "This was definitely the year to do it."

In addition to Boston, the London Marathon, originally scheduled for April, has also been postponed until October. That means five of the six World Marathon Majors will all take place in six and a half week period.

"There's are a lot of pro runners around that could spread out across the five majors," said Chris Weiller, the NYRR senior vice president of Media, Public Relations & Professional Athletics.

Raneri is still keeping his eyes on the prize.

"I don't know who's going to be at each field, but the idea is that it's going to be a very exciting fall," he said. " That's for sure"

He's now eyeing Boston in September and says the race isn't over, but he knows health comes first.

"We have it in the fall, but what I mean by the race isn't over is what we could do now as a community, especially as a running community, as a world," he said. "Just kind of come together in order to fight this thing as best we can on our front."

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE



UPDATES
Grieving the lost: Tri-State residents who have died
New York state
New Jersey
Connecticut
Long Island



RESOURCES
Where are the testing centers

See how our communities are making a difference
Free educational resources for parents and children
How you can help victims of coronavirus

RELATED INFORMATION
Share your coronavirus story with Eyewitness News
Stimulus check scams and other coronavirus hoaxes
Coronavirus prevention: how clean are your hands?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus
Total count of NYC COVID-19 cases based on patient address

Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.