CHICAGO (CBS) — The much anticipated Chicago Marathon, attracting tens of thousands of runners and more than a million spectators, won’t take place this October.

Citing ongoing health concerns surrounding COVID-19, race organizers said it wasn’t going to be possible to schedule the event.

In a statement on the event’s website organizers said “while we’d hoped to once again line 26.2 miles of our streets this October, the health and safety of everyone participating in and supporting the event is our highest priority. In response to the ongoing public health concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Chicago announced the decision to cancel the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and all race weekend activities.”

Those who registered for the event can select a refund for their 2020 race entry. “Due to the complexities of cancelling the event and the anticipated quantity of refunds, we expect the refund process to take several weeks or months. Participants who select this opportunity will be notified via email when the refund process has started,” according to event organizers.

“The Chicago Marathon is our city’s beloved annual celebration of more than 45,000 runners, as well as tens of thousands of volunteers, spectators and city residents, all of whom come together race weekend as one community here in our city,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “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.”

There is a FAQ page set up for anyone with questions on refunds and other fees.

“Hope drives us as runners and as humans. 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,” said Carey Pinkowski, executive race director of the Bank of America Chicago
Marathon.

She added that the race will be celebrated next year.

“We understand the disappointment, but when we return to the streets of Chicago, it will be a celebratory moment and an uncompromising statement about the collective spirit of who we are as a running community: we are powerful, we are persistent, and we will reach the finish line again.”