June 24 (UPI) -- The 2020 New York City Marathon, which had been scheduled for Nov. 1, was canceled Wednesday due to the coronavirus pandemic.
New York Road Runners, the event organizer, and the New York City mayor's office decided to cancel the world's largest marathon due to "coronavirus-related health and safety concerns" for runners, spectators, volunteers, staff and others who attend the annual event.
The New York City Marathon was set to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
"While the marathon is an iconic and beloved event in our city, I applaud New York Road Runners for putting the health and safety of both spectators and runners first," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We look forward to hosting the 50th running of the marathon in November of 2021."
A world-record 53,627 finishers participated in the 2019 event, making it the largest marathon in history. The 2018 New York City Marathon held the previous world record. November's event also had 10,000 volunteers and about 1 million fans along its 26.2-mile course through the five boroughs.
Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor won the 2019 men's open division. Kenya's Joyciline Jepksogei won the 2019 women's open division.
Runners for the 2020 event can receive a refund or defer their entry to a race within the next three years. They also can participate in a virtual version of the race.
Wednesday's cancellation marks the second time in history the event has not been held since its inception in 1970. The 2012 New York City Marathon was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy's impact on the city days before the event.
The Boston Marathon was first postponed before it was canceled in May for the first time in 124 years. The Berlin Marathon was also canceled in April while the Tokyo Marathon canceled its mass-participation version of the event in February.
"Canceling this year's New York City Marathon is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved, but it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective," said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners.
"Marathon Day and the many related events and activities during race week are part of the heart and soul of New York City and the global running community, and we look forward to coming together next year," he said.
The marathon has been rescheduled for Nov. 7, 2021.