Jan. 26 (Reuters) — The Boston Marathon, canceled last year for the first time in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held on Oct. 11 as long as road races are allowed under the Massachusetts reopening plan, race organizers said on Tuesday.

The field size for the world's most prestigious marathon, which generally draws over 30,000 runners from all over the world, will be forthcoming, the Boston Athletic Association said in a news release.

"We announce the 2021 Boston Marathon date with a cautious optimism, understanding full well that we will continue to be guided by science and our continued collaborative work with local, city, state, and public health officials," said B.A.A. Chief Executive Tom Grilk.

"If we are able to hold an in-person race in October, the safety of participants, volunteers, spectators, and community members will be paramount."

Organizers also said the event plan must be approved by the eight cities and towns that comprise the 26.2-mile race route.

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The Boston Marathon, which extends from the suburb of Hopkinton to downtown Boston, had been held annually since 1897 until it was canceled in 2020.

Organizers said last October that the 2021 edition would not be held in its usual April spot and that it would instead be held in the autumn.

The race would make for a packed fall schedule of races, particular among the world's major marathons. The six World Major Marathons typically do not compete on the same weekend, and often with some races in the spring and others in the fall.

However, the Chicago Marathon is slated for the same weekend as Boston with an Oct. 10 date. The others are Berlin (Sept. 26), London (Oct. 3), Tokyo (Oct. 17) and New York (Nov. 7). In addition, if the rescheduled Olympics are held in Tokyo this year, the men's and women's races will be in August.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto Editing by Toby Davis)