“If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training,” is how the old military adage goes, boasting that troops can weather any storm.

But it wasn’t rain or snow or a hurricane that caused the first cancellation of the Marine Corps Marathon in its 45-year history ― it was the coronavirus.

Marine officials announced Monday that for the first time since its inception in 1976, the live Marine Corps Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 25, will not take place in 2020.

“We explored various approaches to safely execute a live event and held numerous meetings with Marine Corps leadership, local government and public health officials,” Rick Nealis, director of the Marine Corps Marathon Organization, said in a Monday press release. “We understand this is disappointing news for many, but we could no longer envision a way to gather together in compliance with safety guidelines.”

Weekend events, which include the fun mile, 10 km race and the new 50 km run, will now “shift to virtual-only status.”

Virtual event registration is open to the public, with entry fees of $45 for the marathon and 50K; $33 for the MCM10K; and $20 for the Semper Fun Mile.

The virtual events must be completed between Oct. 1 – Nov. 10, the Marine Corps Birthday. All participants will receive a shirt, commemorative bib, patch and/or finisher medal, according to the news release.

Registration fee refunds will be processed starting Aug. 6, and may take up to six weeks, according to organizers.

“As we celebrate the race’s 45th anniversary this year, we will be enthusiastically and virtually cheering on each runner,” Libby Garvey, Arlington County board chairwoman, said in the press release. “We can’t wait to welcome these dedicated athletes and fans back to Arlington in person in 2021.”

Andrea Scott is editor of Marine Corps Times.

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