The 124th Boston Marathon finally got underway this weekend, but virtually — meaning runners do the work, and an interactive app augments the experience.

Rather than lining up in Hopkinton and making the famed trek to the Boston's Copley Square, the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the race, asked athletes to run this year's marathon on their own because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Runners must still complete a 26.2-mile-long trek without any stops, but they can choose any day between Sept. 5 and Sept. 14 to do so. Only those previously registered for the 2020 Boston Marathon may compete. Runners are also allowed to use a treadmill.

"Even though it might be somewhat disappointing, not being able to do the actual race along the course with all the spectators and the coverage and whatnot, this is an alternative," BAA Race Director Dave McGillivray told GBH News. "This is, you know, making lemonade out of lemons. This is turning [a] negative into a positive. This is making adjustments, given the parameters and the limitations that we all are living with."

The marathon is normally run on Patriots Day in April, but it was postponed this year to mid-September because of the pandemic, then cancelled altogether at the end of May. It's the first time in the marathon's 124-year history that it has been scrapped in its traditional format.

McGillivray said one benefit to the virtual race is that runners get to choose the day with the best forecast, rather than having to contend with the notoriously mixed weather on race day.

Athletes also will be able to use a mobile app the BAA is rolling out to upload their routes and finish times. The app includes audio cues that will sync with an individual runner's progress through course traditions, such as the roar of the crowd as runners approach the irrepressible women of Wellesley, and the finish on Boylston in downtown Boston.

The BAA is discouraging anyone from running the real course due to coronavirus restictions. McGillivray completed the race himself on Saturday — his 48th consecutive Boston Marathon — by running an approximately 3.6 mile loop in his neighborhood seven times.

"I was able to get it all done in about five hours, which was not a fast time for me. But again, given these circumstances, I'll take it," he said.

The BAA will not be crowning winners for this year's race or giving out awards or prize money. Runners will not be scored against each other as they usually are. Athletes will mostly be taken at their honor that they did in fact run a marathon, but the BAA will also ask runners to provide data from a GPS tracker worn during their run, which shows evidence of their route and time.

"Everybody wants to do it the right way and be honest about their effort, so we feel very confident that the information we're going to get from every runner is going to be what they actually did," McGillivray said.

He adds that he believes that during the pandemic, the running community has remained strong.

"There's actually, I think, more people out there running and walking and cycling today than there [were] even before the pandemic hit," McGillivray said. "People are out there just trying to do something and take care of themselves, and this is something they can do safely. So once this all does come back, we'll probably see another boom in running, you know, less than a year away. So certainly, I'm looking forward to those days."

The Associated Press' William J. Kole contributed to this report.