Though nearly nine months remain before runners are set to converge downtown for the 2021 Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic, event organizers already are adopting contingency plans.If the race is canceled due to coronavirus concerns, it will be run virtually.The virtual-race plans are among a sprawling set of questions addressed on the race’s web site . The race weekend ― which includes events of varying distances ― is set for Feb. 20-21, with online registration opening Monday.Susan Harmeling, longtime executive director of the race, said via e-mail Friday that no firm date has been set as to when a decision will be made on the 2021 event. On Saturday, she reiterated the actual in-person race remains on for now. “As we head into fall and winter, we’ll be watching COVID-19 developments and looking to the city, state, and CDC for guidance,” Harmeling said.“It will be a joint decision and one that focuses on protecting the overall health and well-being of our community, as well as the health and well-being of our staff, board of directors, organizing committee, event sponsors, participants, volunteers, spectators, and support personnel.”Postponing it isn’t an option, in part because of the plethora of events already planned for the Tampa Convention Center and neighboring hotels from January through April.“Additionally, the … race weekend requires tremendous event sponsor support and critical resources provided by Tampa General Hospital and City of Tampa personnel, including the Tampa Police Department, Tampa Fire Rescue, and Solid Waste and Transportation,” the Distance Classic site says.“It’s not possible to reallocate these necessary event sponsors and community resources to a later date.”Refunds won’t be available because race-weekend expenses are paid between three and six months prior to the event, the site indicates. Deferring race entries to 2022 also isn’t an option because registration funds are used to pay expenses for the upcoming year’s event.Those who opt for the virtual race, however, still will receive finisher’s amenities such as a medal and race towel, though the traditional cash prizes won’t be awarded to overall winners.Select apps and virtual-results platforms will be used for the weekend’s races, which include a 5-kilometer, 8K, 15K and half-marathon.The Distance Classic’s contingency plans come in the immediate wake of the cancellation of the 2020 Boston Marathon for the first time in that historic race’s 124-year history. Organizers said Thursday that they instead will have a “virtual event” in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles on their own will receive their finisher’s medal.• • • THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic. GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information . SO YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE? Read these 10 tips first WHAT’S OPEN?: This list includes local establishments doing business in various ways. LOCAL RESTAURANTS: The updated database of Tampa Bay restaurants open for dine-in or takeout UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.