Hopkinton-only Boston Marathon substitute race called off

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Tim Kilduff, executive director of the 26.2 Foundation, announced Tuesday that the proposed substitute Boston Marathon race for Hopkinton charity runners will not be held next month.

Kilduff and former Select Board vice chair John Coutinho had introduced the idea in the spring, after the 124th Boston Marathon was called off and made virtual. Participants who run a marathon between Sept. 7-14 and provide proof to the Boston Athletic Association will receive a finisher’s medal and other prizes.

Kilduff’s group of “community leaders” also was looking to help charities in town by providing an opportunity for runners to complete their obligation and collect their donations.

“[The] group has spent considerable time and reflection reviewing potential 26.2-mile routes in Hopkinton,” Kilduff said in a statement Monday to Town Manager Norman Khumalo. “While we have confidence in our collective talents, we have come to the realization that doing so presently is not the prudent course of action.”

Among the reasons, Kilduff said, were safety of the runners and volunteers, current state guidelines on public gatherings and an inability to predict when the guidelines might change, the BAA’s recommendations, and the “near impossibility of finding the least challenging route, considering Hopkinton topography.”

“We all understand that there is more to marathoning than putting on one’s running shoes and setting out to run 26.2 miles,” Kilduff said. “Weather, course difficulty, event organization and the support system can all affect the experience for even an elite marathoner, let alone a first-timer. For example, experienced marathoners have told me that if the weather turns hot on race day, you may be wise to step down and look to race on another day.

“Our town and its residents appreciate and respect those who take on the challenge of running from Hopkinton to Boston. It is with that respect and consideration for them and the current situation that our decision was reached.

“We will look forward, with hopeful anticipation, to welcoming runners to Hopkinton for the running of the 125th Boston Marathon on the third Monday in April of 2021.”

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