First came word the Boston Marathon would be rescheduled for the first time in its history. Then, on April Fools' Day, came word the Boston Athletic Association will refund entry fees from runners who cannot run the race on the second Monday of September.
All the previous runnings have been on the third Monday in April, Patriot's Day in Massachusetts. There have been 123 such races.
The B.A.A.'s policy is atypical. More often, when races are canceled, the organizers exercise their contractual rights to keep the money, typically on the justification the race already has spent the money. Contractual clauses such as no-refund policies are generally legally enforceable.
The Boston Marathon is in a different position that nearly all other races because it will have no problem filling the corrals on September 14 (if, in fact, the race is run that day). It is virtually assured of recouping whatever entry fees it refunds.
Still, the gesture, while appreciated, has to affect the B.A.A.'s bottom line going forward.
On a personal note, I am slated to run the 2020 Boston Marathon and have no interest in a refund.