Are You Going to Hold the April 2021 Big Sur Marathon or Other Races Next Year?

No. Our board determined that, 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.

We are devastated about canceling all our 2020 in-person events and programs. As we assess the near future of larger in-person running events, we have made the very difficult decision to suspend the Foundation’s race operations, effective September 30, 2020. This suspension will continue until permits for large events are available in Monterey County and in California and race planning and registrations can begin again safely. This action allows our organization to operationally weather this global health crisis until we can safely stage our races again.

Near term, this will mean that:

  • The Big Surreal Virtual Challenge will continue as planned through September 30
  • We will no longer offer a November 2020 Monterey Bay Half Marathon virtual race.
  • We are suspending the JUST RUN youth fitness program for the 2020-2021 school year.

Until we can begin planning races and registering runners, we are suspending our plans for:

  • The April 2021 Big Sur Marathon weekend of races
  • The June 2021 Run in the Name of Love
  • The November 2021 Monterey Bay Half Marathon race weekend
  • Grants for our volunteer organizations that support our race weekend efforts.

In addition, with no current races on the horizon, we are reducing our staff to Race Director Doug Thurston and Administrative Manager Chris Balog.

Are You Still Going to Offer a Virtual Monterey Bay Half Marathon in November 2020?

No, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation will suspend most operations following the Big Surreal Virtual Challenge in September 2020 and no additional virtual events are planned for 2021.

Why Did You Cancel the April 2021 Race so Early?

We normally begin registration in July for the following April’s marathon and in September for other race distances. The ongoing pandemic crisis, the lack of a vaccine anytime soon, and the uncertainty of even getting a permit for a large event all meant, to us, that a race in the spring of April 2021 would not be viable.

Each race organization around the country is addressing this situation and some may choose or be able to make a different plan for their events. This suspension is what our board determined was the best plan for the Big Sur Marathon Foundation. 

What if the Situation Changes and the Pandemic is Over in Early 2021?

If the pandemic ends soon, that will be great news for the entire world. However, realistically, we will not put together a race for April 2021 even if conditions improve. It takes six months or more of planning and BSMF will suspend most operations in October 2020.

We will continue to monitor developments with the pandemic including vaccine development and distribution. Our next planned race is the Big Sur International Marathon on April 24, 2022.

Please monitor our social media pages and our websites for any updates:

What About Those Who Entered the April 2020 race weekend?

All April 2020 entrants were offered a 60% refund of their entry fees or the option to donate 100% of their entry fees to our non-profit organization. These refunds or donations have all been processed as of early August 2020. If you were an entrant in one of our April 2020 races (5K and up) and did not receive an email with restitution information, please contact and we will research your entry. If the original credit card you used to enter the April 2020 race is no longer valid and/or not available to receive a refund credit, please contact Active technical support at 877.228.4881.

We did not open registration for the November 2020 Monterey Bay Half Marathon so there are no entrants into that canceled race…

We canceled the June 2020 Run in the Name of Love after registration had been open only about six weeks and all of these entrants were provided refunds.

Did You Defer Any Marathon Entries to 2021 or 2022?

No April 2020 entrants were deferred to future years. April 2020 entrants will have a priority registration period for the April 2022 or the April 2023 race weekends. (Note: there are a few dozen runners from 2019 or earlier that have special circumstances, and we have communicated directly with these entrants.)

For more information about the April 2020 entrant refund program, read through a separate FAQ HERE

Will April 2020 Entrants Have a Guaranteed Entry Into the Next Race in April 2022?

Those who entered the April 2020 Marathon or other race distances will have the opportunity to enter the April 2022 race before the general public. All 2022 registration plans will be detailed in June or July 2021 at

How Will Future Big Sur Marathon Races Change Due to COVID-19?

It’s difficult to say right now. Our events typically bring tens of thousands of runners, friends, family, and others from all 50 states and dozens of countries into our relatively small community. We will continue to monitor best practices if and when larger events happen successfully in California and around the country. Our priority is always the safety of our participants, volunteers, vendors, suppliers, and community. Some areas of our races (and many others around the country) could change including in such areas as packet pick-up, the race expo, pasta dinner, transportation, start and finish villages, aid stations, post-race refreshments, and awards ceremonies. 

We will provide updates to the April 2022 Big Sur Marathon weekend of events before registration opens, likely in the summer of 2021.

How Do I Receive Any Updates on Future Races?

The best way to stay updated about the status of our future events is to add your email address to our mailing list, available at the bottom of the home page at or www.montereybayhalfmarathon,org. Also, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thank You

We appreciate your patience and consideration as we try to help our non-profit organization survive during this crisis. We have survived landslides, bridge collapses, floods, and forest fires though we have had to cancel five races in the last four years—and now are proactively canceling three more through 2021. We look forward to providing you another beautiful, world-class event when safe to do so. If you have any additional questions, please contact me at the information below.

Best wishes for your continued safety,

Doug Thurston
Race Director
Big Sur Marathon Foundation
Carmel, Calif.
(831) 625-6226