Philadelphia Marathon plans November race at reduced capacity

Elite runners prepare to begin The Philadelphia Marathon.

Elite runners prepare to begin The Philadelphia Marathon in August 2017. (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

The 27th annual Philadelphia Marathon Weekend will be held in November, with 50% fewer runners.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, about 30,000 runners and 60,000 spectators took part in the marathon weekend.

The event was canceled last year due to COVID-19. The city confirmed Tuesday the event will take place this year, from Nov. 19 to 21.

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Details are subject to change, depending on whether coronavirus cases continue to decline throughout the year. But officials say they’re hopeful the event will be able to take place safely as more COVID-19 vaccines are distributed.

“While canceling the 2020 Philadelphia Marathon Weekend was necessary, it was still a difficult announcement to make,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement.

“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.”

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In addition to a 50% reduction of runners for the weekend’s four events, spectators will be limited to zones located throughout the racecourse. Participants also will be pre-screened to assess their exposure risk, and those with COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to attend. Physical distancing measures will be arranged for runners, who also must wear a face mask at the start line corral, and after crossing the finish line.

Registration for the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend will open to runners at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 13.

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