Philadelphia Marathon Cancelled; Broad Street Run to Go Virtual This Year, City Officials Say

The fall race landscape in Philly looks a whole lot different this year.

The 2020 Philadelphia Marathon is cancelled due to COVID-19. / Photograph by Chris Waits via Flickr.

Today at a news conference on COVID-19, Mayor Kenney formally announced that in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, all large, public events will not be permitted through the end of February 2021.

For all you runners out there, the announcement means this year’s fall races like the Philadelphia Marathon, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, and the Broad Street Run, which had already been rescheduled from this Spring to October, will not be able to proceed as planned. (It also means no Mummer’s Parade or Thanksgiving Day parade.)

The Philadelphia Marathon weekend, which was slotted for the weekend of November 20th to 22nd, is cancelled.

“Obviously it’s a sad day when we have to cancel the marathon weekend of events. It’s been gaining momentum the past three years,” Leo Dignam, Executive Director of the AACR Philadelphia Marathon, told us over the phone this afternoon, “Before the pandemic hit we were up 15 percent over last year’s numbers, which were up 10 percent from the year before. We’re sad that this had to happen, but the city is being as careful as possible to make sure we don’t create a situation where the virus spreads. And, obviously an event with 35,000 runners and 60,000 spectators is a place where it could spread.”

To handle the cancellation, the Philadelphia Marathon will allow runners to have their choice of deferring their spot to the 2021, 2022, or 2023 marathon, or a refund, which may be donated to the American Association for Cancer Research. You can see all the details on the website here.

While the 2020 Philadelphia Marathon series of events is cancelled, the 2020 Broad Street Run is going virtual — with some serious modifications for safety.

“This year the virtual Broad Street will be run over a three-week period, from September 12th to September 28th, since there are so many people involved,” Dignam explained. “All of the runners will get their tech shirt, their medals, running Buffs in lieu of a mask, and hand sanitizer.”

In addition to tech shirts, medals, Buffs, and hand-sanitizer, this year’s crop of virtual Broad Street runners will also get a 20 percent discount on 2021 entry fees, as well as guaranteed entry into the 2021 Blue Cross Broad Street Run, without having to enter the lottery. Which is, all in all, a pretty nice package for participants from the folks at the run, even if we’ll all miss race day this year.

For those looking to feel a bit of the thrill of the actual event, NBC10 and Telemundo62 will air a virtual Blue Cross Broad Street Run special on October 4th, the former date of the postponed race, featuring runners participating in the virtual run. You can also find more information and details on the special, and on the new virtual race format, on the Blue Cross Broad Street Run website.

“We’re doing what we have to do for the health and safety of our runners, spectators, staff, and participants,” Dignam said. “We want to keep people active and healthy, and we’ll hopefully be back stronger than ever next year.”

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