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Boston Marathon virtual experience launches Thursday

The 124th Boston Marathon will be virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Monday April 20, 2020 file photo, the Boston Marathon start line in Hopkinton, Mass., is vacant on the scheduled day of the 124th race, due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. The 2020 Boston Marathon, which was rescheduled to run on Sept. 14th, was canceled Thursday May 28, 2020, for the first time in its 124-year history. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON, Massachusetts — For the first time in its 124-year history, the Boston Marathon was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But runners can still complete the 26.2 miles on their own and experience the marathon in a virtual format.

The race had originally been postponed from April to September, but organizers announced in May that the marathon would be scrapped completely. Instead, everyone originally registered for the 2020 race would be offered a refund and can instead participate in the virtual marathon by running the 26.2 miles remotely.

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) says the new virtual experience mobile app and web platform will launch to registered participants on Thursday, Aug. 24. The app and website will host exclusive content designed specifically for the virtual experience; it can only be accessed by registered participants.

The BAA says the Boston Marathon Virtual Experience “will bring Boston to the world” as participants complete 26.2 miles within their neighborhoods from Sept. 5 through Sept. 14.

RELATED: Boston Marathon canceled for first time in 124-year history

There is no time limit to complete the race, but it must be completed in one continuous attempt. Participants can also run 26.2 miles multiple times, but the leaderboard will only show their most recent attempt.

Participants will have three ways to submit their times:

  • Using the Boston Marathon Virtual Experience mobile app, which will track a participant’s 26.2-mile route and time through their phone’s GPS;
  • Using a compatible device (Garmin, Apple HealthKit, or Fitbit) which will sync with the Boston Marathon Virtual Experience app and web profile;
  • Manually uploading a time directly to the Boston Marathon Virtual Experience app or to the web profile.

The web platform will feature the results and leaderboard, social wall, and virtual toolkit. Beginning on Saturday, Sept. 5 at midnight EST, race-day features will be unlocked for all participants.