BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Running Festival will be switched to a virtual-only event due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

“We’ve overcome many huge challenges in our 20-year history, including 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings, and we always hosted Maryland’s greatest day for running every October,” said Lee Corrigan, the event’s founder and executive race director. “We’ve delayed this decision in order to pursue every possible alternative, but at the end of the process we concluded the smartest and safest decision is to conduct this year’s festival virtually.”

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The running festival includes a marathon, half marathon, four-person team relay and 5K.

Race organizers were expecting 20,000 runners at the October 17 event, which was slated to start on Eutaw Street inside Camden Yards for the first-time ever.

“We’ve also decided the unique circumstances warrant us postponing our 20th anniversary to next year, when Charm City can fully role out our red carpet and welcome the running world to the streets of our eclectic neighborhoods and celebrate what this event means to Baltimore,” Corrigan added.

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Every virtual participant will receive a commemorative finisher’s medal with a new “Stronger Together” theme to reflect the virtual field of runners from around the country and world uniting as one on a different type of race day.

Runners who have already registered for the event are offered two options. They can run the event virtually by completing their respective distance on their own course and receive a medal and race shirt. Or runners can opt for a raincheck for the 2021 race.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Paul Gessler