The North American road running scene took a big blow on Thursday when it was announced that the Big Sur International Marathon will not be run in 2021, with the race’s return date set for 2022. After months of race cancellations for the 2020 season, the running community is starting to see this trend bleed into the 2021 calendar, and Big Sur is the latest to suffer this fate. The marathon was scheduled for April, and its cancellation is not a good sign for runners hoping to return to their regular programs in 2021.
The board of the Big Sur Marathon Foundation, which organizes both Big Sur and Monterey Bay Half-Marathon, published a statement that said, “at this time, it is neither safe nor feasible to plan for any races in 2021. After what we have all been through with this pandemic, we realize that there are still so many unknowns. Things seem to change with each passing week, usually not for the better.”
The statement goes on to say the foundation’s race operations will be suspended as of September 30, and this will remain the case “until such a time as race planning and registrations can begin again” in accordance with the Monterey County and California restrictions regarding large events. In addition to suspending race operations, the foundation’s staff will be reduced to two — the race director and administrative manager.
The event’s virtual race, the Big Surreal Virtual Challenge, will still be held, taking place between September 1 and 30.
Our Governance Board has reviewed our overall operations and made the very difficult decision to suspend the Foundation’s race operations, effective September 30, 2020, until such a time as race planning and registrations can begin again.
— Big Sur Marathon (@BSIMEvents) August 20, 2020
The Monterey Bay Half-Marathon has had a string of bad luck in recent years. In 2018, the event was cancelled the day before it was set to run due to wild fires in California and the resulting poor air quality, and this year’s event was called off due to COVID-19. The next edition of the race isn’t scheduled until November 2021, so there is still time for the pandemic to fade and the race to be organized, but for now, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation won’t be planning for any events.
In addition to cancelling the 2021 event, the Big Sur team has cancelled the Monterey Bay virtual race, which was scheduled as a replacement for this November’s in-person run. Since the company’s race operations will be suspended following the completion of the Big Surreal Virtual Challenge at the end of September, the November virtual half-marathon can no longer be organized.