Preliminary date set for scaled back Philadelphia Marathon Weekend 2021

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- While health officials continue to monitor COVID-19 trends in the city, planning for the 27th annual Philadelphia Marathon is underway.

On Tuesday, the city announced a preliminary date for the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend - November 19 to 21, 2021.

Though plans remain subject to change, the race is scheduled to return to the City of Brotherly Love with a 50% reduction in runners this year.

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Thousands of runners take part in 25th annual Philadelphia Marathon. Bob Brooks reports during Action News at noon on November 18, 2018.

Registration will open to runners on May 13 beginning at 2 p.m.

"While canceling the 2020 Philadelphia Marathon Weekend was necessary, it was still a difficult announcement to make," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "Today, we're filled with hope as vaccine distribution continues to increase, making announcements like today's possible. We are excited as we plan for the return of an iconic Philadelphia event, and we're committed to creating the safest environment for our staff, athletes, volunteers, and partners. Safety is our top priority, and we continue to work closely with public health experts to plan and execute a safe, successful marathon weekend."

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Some of the event COVID-19 precautions will include:

- 50% reduction in runners for each of the four events: AACR Philadelphia Marathon, Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, Rothman 8K, and the Dunkin' Munchkin Run. There is the potential for runner participation to increase depending on current COVID-19 restrictions.
- Restricted access to start and finish lines exclusively for runners; spectators will be limited to spectator zones located throughout the course of the race.

- The Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon will begin at 7 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. to allow for increased distancing between runners. All other race event times will remain the same.
- Hydration and nutrition stations will follow public health safety guidelines.
- Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center will be modified to public health safety guidelines.
- A pre-event questionnaire will be sent to all registered participants assessing their exposure risk in advance requiring them to disclose known symptoms.
- Participants and planned spectators who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms in the week leading up to race day will not be allowed to attend.

- There will be no registration or packet pick-up on event day.
- Runners will be required to wear a mask covering their mouth and nose in the start line corral and after crossing the finish line.
- Runners will be assigned into eight corrals with 10 runners starting in waves every 10 seconds to allow for more distance between runners. Runners will be spaced three feet apart in starting corrals.
- Traditional high fives and other significant celebratory points of contact will not be permitted at the finish line.
- Runners will be required to remain socially distanced from others when they cross the finish line.

In the event of a cancellation, all 2021 participants will be given the option to defer their registration to race in future years or to receive a partial refund depending on the cancellation date.

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