A Year Later, Events Are Back

We posted the other day about the positive signs of recovery we are seeing in transactions as we hit the one-year anniversary of the earliest pandemic shutdowns. Today, we want to take a minute to talk more about the activity we are seeing because one is thing clear: events are back.

There is, of course, still regional variability, and the largest events have mostly moved later in the year or decided to go virtual (with a few notable exceptions like Grandma’s Marathon). We expect more ups and downs. But as we did an informal survey of the country, we found Q1 live events in the vast majority of states, even in the dead of winter when events are scarce in the best of years. A few trends we’re seeing:

  • Hybrid is hotRaces everywhere are offering a virtual option to allow participants to join without fear, expand capacity beyond local limits, and reach participants across the country. Even the Boston Marathon is planning on Hybrid.
  • COVID plans are everywhere. Most permitting agencies require a COVID-19 safety plan for events to move forward. Our RaceDay team has put out a range of resources for modifying your event, including a blog, a webinar, and a framework for writing your own plan.
  • Optimism is high for summer and fall events, and events are responding accordingly and renewing their 2021 events in record numbers – exceeding the number of renewed races that we saw at this time in 2019.
  • Fall will be crowded. With many marquees large events postponing to fall, we expect a highly saturated market then. But people are looking for events now. Smaller events with the ability to modify to meet guidelines should work to maintain their normal spring/summer event dates while options are still limited for participants.
  • There are blueprints for larger events. While the 10,000+ events may still be on hold, we cited 15 events of over 1,000 participants (6 of which were over 3,000) in the race list below – and that definitely isn’t all of them.

Events are Back National Roundup

This is not a full list – some of these states have dozens of races we could have featured, and we’re sure we skipped some significant ones. But as you’re putting together your race plan for the year, peruse the dozens of successful events that have happened (most since December 2020) for encouragement and inspiration.


Q1 2021: Big Beach Marathon on January 31, 2021, in-person with a virtual backup.


Q1 2021: Frostbite Footrace on February 27, 2021, hosted despite getting approval just a few weeks before.


Q1 2021: Desert Classic Half Marathon and 5k on January 30, 2021 with some spectacular views.


Q1 2021: The Beat Goes on 5K on March 6, 2021, raising money for AEDs for local police departments.https://runsignup.com/Race/AR/Benton/TheBeatGoesOn5K


Q1 2021: Sweetheart Classic on February 13, 2021, with waves of 75.

Q3 2020: Pikes Peak Marathon on August 23, 2020, sold out at 800 participants.


Q1 2021: The First Chance in CT 3 Mile Run or Walk on March 6, 2021, celebrating Valentines day a little late.


Q1 2021: Run for Love 5K on February 13, 2021, with a special gift for ladies.


Q4 2020: Space Coast Marathon, November 28 with 3,000 in-person, as well as a virtual component.

Q1 2021: A1A Fort Lauderdale Marathon on February 14, 2021.


Q1 2021: CASA Superhero 5K Run/Walk on January 20, 2021, with discounts for teams.

Q1 2021: Publix Atlanta Marathon on February 27, 2021, moved to the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Upcoming Event: Skidaway Island Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K on March 13, 2021, in “America’s Most Beautiful City.”


Q1 2021: Moose on the Loose Winter triathlon on February 6, 2021, with options for a variety of winter disciplines to complete the event.

Earlier Event Q3 2020: Coeur d’Alene Marathon Half Marathon, and 10K on August 21, 2020, with rave reviews post-race.


Q4 2021: Bloomington Zoo Stampede on March 6, 2021 – with more participants than in pre-COVID years.


Q1 2021: Frosty Five Run on February 13, 2021, with a scenic, cross-country style course.


Q4 2020: Miles in the Maize on November 1, 2020, with a course through a winding corn maze and pumpkin patch.

Upcoming Q2 2021: Des Moines St. Paddy’s Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K with a custom shamrock cookie.


Q4 2021: Cookie Run 5K on March 6, 2021 featuring Girl Scout cookies!


Q1 2021: First Day 4 Miler on January 1, 2021, with touchless packet pickup.

Upcoming Event Q2 of 2020: The Kentucky Derby Festival, held over 3 days in late April.


Q1 2021: The Louisiana Marathon, held on March 6-7, 2021 (postponed from January)


Q1 2021: Hot Chocolate 5K on February 21, 2021 (with dogs!).


Q1 2021: Cupids 5K Trail Run on February 13, 2021 with a 1-hour open start.


Q2&Q3 2020: MNy 205s with races capped to meet restrictions.


Q4 2020: Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon on December 13, 2020 with beautiful ocean views.


Q1 2021: Cupid Shuffle 5K 10K on February 27, 2021 (after a weather delay).

Upcoming Q2 2021: St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend with in-person and virtual options.


Q1 2021: Camp Barnabas Campfire 5K on March 6, 2021 – themed attire encouraged.


Q1 2021: Leprechaun Chase 10K on March 6, 2021 with plenty of green


Q1 2021: Red Rock Canyon Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K on February 27, 2021 amongs some of the Mojave Desert’s most scenic views.

New Hampshire

Q1 2021: Aflac Super Chili Bowl 5K on February 7, 2021 with virtual and in-person options.

New Jersey

Q1 2021: The Chili Run (February) on February 13, 2021, with (of course) Chili.

New York

Q1 2021: Freezer 5 Miler on February 21, 2021with custom neck gaiters.

North Carolina

Q1 2021: Run Oak Island Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K and 1 Mile on February 13, 2021

North Dakota

Q4 2020: Bold St. Nick’s Fatbike & Snowshoe Run Event on December 12, 2020, with bikers, snowshoers, and fire pits.


Q1 2021: Snoball Run on February 20, 2021 with corrals of 50 people.


Q1 2021: Greenleaf Trail Run 2021 on January 30, 2021 – with distance options for every runner.


Q1 2021: Vernonia Ugly Sweater Run on December 12, 2020 – with a 50 person cap (+ virtual), but no shortage of holiday cheer.


Q1 2021: Spring Thaw 10 Mile Live and In-Person on February 28, 2021 – 45 years and counting!

Rhode Island

Q4 2020: Burrillville Bronco 5K on November 15, 2020.

South Carolina

Q4 2020: 7th Annual McElveen Cocoa Cup 5K on December 19, 2020

Q3 2021: Greenville Half Marathon and 5K on February 27, 2021.


Q1 2021: Glow for Galactosemia on February 28, 2021, with a touchless race day.


Q1 2021: 10th Annual Woodlands Marathon on March 6, 2021


Q1 2021: The Zion Half Marathon on February 27, 2021, one of several events successfully hosted by Vacation Races.


Q4 2020: Richmond Marathon over 16 days in November (5,000+ total)


Q1 2021: Richland RunFest on February 27, 2021, with a drive-through packet pickup.

West Virginia

Q1 2021: 16th Annual Run to Read Half Marathon on January 9, 2021, which sold out!


Q1 2021: Big Chill on January 24, 2021 – one race in a 17-year race series.

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