April 18, 2021
fall 2021 races

Fall 2021 already boasting a crowded race calendar

Didn’t we do this already?

With spring race events being pushed back to fall 2021, it’s all feeling distressingly familiar.

In many ways, this feels like an instant replay of last year. All the big races, and many smaller ones, are being pushed back to fall. However, unlike in 2020, those fall events will actually happen. The vaccines and the falling COVID numbers give us reason to be confident.

Not like 2020

You’ll be forgiven if you’ve given in to discouragement in recent weeks. Last year, races got pushed back to the fall of 2020 only to be canceled later. It might look like that’s the case again–and it’s not just the bigger races.

Personally, I was planning on running the Hot Chocolate and the Rock & Roll, both in Nashville. The Hot Chocolate wasn’t even scheduled this year, and the Rock & Roll announced its cancelation as I was writing this post (irony!). My other go-to spring race would be the River Bank Run in Grand Rapids, Michigan but  NOPE!  that’s been pushed back to October.

Take heart! This year it’s different. Really. I know I know. I was stupidly optimistic last summer. But this time is really and truly different. This time around the races are being pushed back to buy time for the pandemic to subside. We might even be able to have events without fussing about social distancing, facial coverings, and the like. Maybe. We hope.

Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh said as much when he stated that the 2021 marathon was being delayed until “the public health data shows that it is safe for all athletes and spectators to gather in large numbers.” Similarly, race organizers for Grand Rapids’s River Bank Run say their decision to push the race back to October was to “allow the event to resemble what participants have come to expect.”

What the calendar looks like so far for this fall

Depending on your point of view the fall 2021 race calendar will be the most exciting marathon season e’vah, or it’ll be as distressingly painful as passing a pair of track spikes through the colon. (Was that description over the top?  OK, I didn’t think so either.)

This is how fall 2021 looks so far. And notice that Chicago and Boston are happening back to back, with Chicago on a Sunday and Boston sticking with their traditional Monday:

  • Sept. 26 – Berlin Marathon
  • Oct. 3 – London Marathon
  • Oct. 10 – Chicago Marathon
  • Oct. 11 – Boston Marathon
  • Oct. 17 – Tokyo Marathon
  • Nov. 7 – New York City Marathon

If you add your local race schedule to the above lineup, you realize just how freaking crazy this year’s marathon season is going to be! For example, my local Nashville Marathon occurs in November, while the Rock & Roll Nashville is being pushed from April to an as-yet-unannounced date in the fall; a popular Special Kids 15K was bumped from spring to October 30… and, well, you get the point.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


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Daniel LaPonsie

Daniel is a writer and runner. He was born in west Michigan (where the north begins and the waters run pure). He currently writes, runs, and works in beautiful Tennessee.

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