NEW BEDFORD — With increasing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the 43rd annual New Bedford Half Marathon has been canceled.

The City of New Bedford and the New Bedford Half Marathon Committee together announced that the 2020 New Bedford Half Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, March 15, has been canceled “to ensure the health and safety of residents and runners.”

“The risk level in Greater New Bedford remains low and there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the area, but the unique nature of the event poses a risk that is higher than other public gatherings. The race attracts as many as 3,000 runners, including many from places where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed,” the press release from the City of New Bedford read. “At the race’s starting line, runners are massed tightly in a corral in close contact for an extended period, raising the risk of disease transmission. There is similar risk to the thousands of spectators along the route and the City�������s emergency personnel. Under the circumstances, canceling the race is the prudent course.”

Race director Dan McCarthy said this is the first time in the history of the New Bedford Half Marathon that the race had to be canceled.

“This was a call that was not made lightly,” said McCarthy. “We worked with the Mayor's Office and with our vendor host the YMCA and came to this decision collectively.”

“The New Bedford Half Marathon is one of the oldest and most popular half marathons in the country," Mayor Jon Mitchell said. "While no other public events in New Bedford have been canceled, decisions regarding future public events in the city will be based on the overall risk level and the nature of the event. I wish to thank all of the volunteers who have worked hard to organize the race and I ask for their understanding, along with those local businesses that benefit from the race, that this decision is made to protect the public.”

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