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The global coronavirus outbreak has caused the cancellation of the 2020 Penn Relays. This is the first time in 126 years that the event will not be run.

Credit: Son Nguyen

The Penn Relays will not occur in 2020, at least not to its full extent, according to a statement posted on the Relays website Monday morning.

The annual event has run every year since 1895, marking its 125th anniversary last year with a special commemoration. In lieu of the standard three-day competition, Penn Athletics announced its intention to host a substitute one-day event later in the spring to make up for the cancellation.

"Based on the current novel coronavirus pandemic, we cannot host an event in late April without putting our participants, spectators, officials, volunteers, and staff at risk," wrote Penn Director of Athletics M. Grace Calhoun in the statement. "We remain hopeful that the recent measures put in place by many health organizations, government officials, and academic institutions will curtail the spread of this disease."

Although the meet adapted to conditions during both world wars and other national crises, this year is the first that it was canceled completely.

"No one associated with the Penn Relays has ever wanted to see a cancellation," wrote Dave Johnson, director of the Penn Relays. "While participating in the meet as an athlete, coach, or official remains a bucket list goal for many, the event has long served as an annual homecoming for families, friends, teams, and social groups. Without the Penn Relays, springtime in Philadelphia will not be the same."

Penn Athletics also announced its policy for fans who already have their tickets for this year's competition. Ticket holders have the option of being credited for the 2021 event automatically, or opting out and asking for a refund. Those who want refunds should fill out the form here by March 27.

The 2021 Penn Relays are still on as scheduled, slated for April 22-24 on Franklin Field.

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