For Immediate Release: May 11, 2021
City of Philadelphia – [email protected]
Marathon – Jennifer Sherlock, [email protected]

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City Announces Preliminary Date for Scaled Back Philadelphia Marathon Weekend

Ample COVID-19 safety procedures will be in place; American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to return as title partner of the marathon

PHILADELPHIA — The City of Philadelphia announced today a preliminary date for the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend, which is currently set for November 19 - 21, 2021. While City officials continue to monitor COVID-19 case trends closely, planning for the 27th annual running event is underway as event organizers are working closely with the City of Philadelphia on race weekend plans that align with Philadelphia’s COVID-19 safety policies.

Though plans remain subject to change, as of today the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend is scheduled to return to the streets of Brotherly Love, but with a 50 percent reduction in runners this year. Registration for the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend will open to runners at 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.”

Some of the pre-event and event day precautions will include:

  • 50 percent reduction in runners for each of the four events: AACR Philadelphia Marathon, Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, Rothman 8K, and the Dunkin’ Munchkin Run.
    • Potential for runner participation to increase if COVID-19 restrictions ease.
  • 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.

Runners who are registered to run in-person during races scheduled on November 20 or 21 will be given the option to participate virtually if they wish to, or if they are unable to run in-person due to illness. Those who register for a virtual race will also be given the option to transfer their participation to an in-person event through their RunSignUp account for an additional fee, space permitting. Runners who deferred their 2020 race registration will receive an email with instructions on how to register for the 2021 race using their deferred entry. Runners that were registered for 2020’s cancelled race who choose not to participate in the 2021 race may defer to 2022 or 2023 in the race category associated with their 2020 registration.

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 dependent upon the cancellation date. Partial refunds will be determined based on race expenditures incurred by the City leading up to the cancellation date. At this time, a virtual race weekend is not planned if all race events are cancelled. In the event the race is cancelled, runners will be offered the option to donate their pro-rated refund to AACR.

The AACR Philadelphia Marathon takes runners on a 26.2-mile challenge that routes through the heart of Philadelphia and includes some of the most iconic landmarks. The beautiful and scenic course has been consistently listed as one of the top ten courses in the country. The weekend begins with the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, the Rothman 8K run, and the Dunkin’ Munchkin’ Run on Saturday, November 20. The full AACR Philadelphia Marathon will be held on Sunday, November 21 to round out the weekend. Runners start at 22nd Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is honored to continue our partnership with the City of Philadelphia as the title partner of the AACR Philadelphia Marathon and official charity for race weekend,” said Mitch Stoller, AACR Foundation Chief Philanthropic Officer and Vice President of Development. “As the running world begins to emerge from 2020, we are looking forward to welcoming back participants and building off the success of prior years. We encourage registrants to put more meaning in their miles by joining the AACR Runners for Research team to help propel the next wave of discoveries to benefit cancer patients and their families everywhere.”

Those interested can stay up to date with the latest information by visiting the Philadelphia Marathon’s website. If you are interested in learning more about the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend, new COVID-19 safety policies and procedures, or would like to schedule interviews with runners, please email [email protected].

About the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend:
Pre-covid, the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend welcomed over 30,000 runners, 60,000 spectators, and 3,000 volunteers each year. Race Weekend 2021 features the AACR Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, November 21; the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, Rothman 8K and the Dunkin’ Munchkin Run on Saturday, November 20; and a free runner expo designed around health and health and wellness on Friday, November 19. Race participants pass many of Philadelphia's famous attractions on the swift and scenic USATF-certified course, which is a Boston qualifier. Take the first step to experiencing 26.2 miles of fun, beauty, history, and excitement by registering at

About the American Association for Cancer Research:
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes 48,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 127 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops—the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting, with more than 74,000 attendees for the 2020 virtual meetings and more than 22,500 attendees for past in-person meetings. In addition, the AACR publishes nine prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up to Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit


Please view the FAQ page for the latest information about the event and any changes to restrictions.