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Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

COVID-19 has taken a toll road racing, with the number of finishers in timed races dropping nearly 95% year-over-year between mid-March and mid-October, per the Wall Street Journal.

The state of play: Of the six designated World Marathon Majors scheduled for 2020, four (Boston, NYC, Chicago, Berlin) were canceled and two (Tokyo and London) were radically scaled back.

Looking ahead: The 2021 Boston Marathon, which is typically held in April, is postponed until at least next fall, the Boston Athletic Association announced Wednesday.

Between the lines: When they return, "races are not going to be the way they were," Todd Henderlong, the owner of an Indiana race series that has been offering in-person events since May, told the New York Times.

  • To avoid crowded starting lines, participants could take off in heats at pre-assigned times, and thus spend most of the race running solo.
  • Water stations are health risks, so races will likely require runners to bring their own water, sports drinks and snacks.
  • Participants at a half marathon in Arizona next month will receive a neck gaiter in their race packets and must wear it or another facial covering at the race start, and when passing runners.

Go deeper

Oct 28, 2020 - Sports

Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges

Photo: Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

The Boston Marathon, which is typically held in April, "will be postponed until at least the fall of 2021," because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Boston Athletic Association announced Wednesday.

The state of play: The BAA said it delayed the 125th annual event, which was scheduled for April 19, 2021, because road races are banned until Boston hits Phase 4 of its reopening plan. The city is currently in Phase 3 of 4.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.