Big Sur Marathon Foundation Suspends Operations Amidst Pandemic

Big Sur Marathon Foundation Suspends Operations Amidst Pandemic
Plans for all 2021 races have been frozen until further notice

CARMEL, CA –The Big Sur Marathon Foundation (BSMF) announced Thursday that they will suspend all race operations, effective September 30, 2020. Citing the many unknowns concerning the coronavirus pandemic, organizers say the timeline for resuming race planning and registrations is unclear and ever-changing.

“We are devastated about canceling all our in-person events and programs for 2020 and now for 2021,” said Race Director Doug Thurston. “That said, we have refocused our staff’s creative efforts on producing our Big Surreal Virtual Challenge and look forward to hearing how our runners enjoy the experience.”

By placing the 36-year-old nonprofit organization in a  hibernation of sorts, race officials hope to minimize financial and operational damage so the organization can once again organize world-class races when safe to do so. Securing permits  to hold large mass-participation events  like marathons likely won’t happen until vaccines or other coronavirus therapeutics are widely in use. 

As a result, the following events/programs have been cancelled:

  • The November 2020 Monterey Bay Half Marathon in-person and virtual races. Registration had not yet opened for either event.
  • The JUST RUN youth fitness program for the 2020-2021 school year.

BSMF has suspended all plans for the following 2021 events/programs:

  • 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 volunteer organizations that support race weekend efforts

With no current races on the horizon, the BSMF Board also made the difficult decision to reduce their staff to just two employees – Race Director Doug Thurston and Administrative Manager Chris Balog. Five of the organization’s seven full-time employees have been laid off.

The organization says it will continue to monitor updates regarding the pandemic including vaccine development and distribution and remain hopeful that they will be able to safely hold races and other programs in 2022.

For answers to common questions related to these updates, please visit the FAQ page located on the Big Sur Marathon website. BSMF asks fans to continue to monitor their social media pages and websites for updates in the months to come.

About the Big Sur Marathon Foundation

The Big Sur Marathon Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create beautiful running events that promote health and benefit the community. Under the brand are three individual race weekends: Big Sur International Marathon in April, Run in the Name of Love 5K and 2K in June, and the Monterey Bay Half Marathon, 5K and 3K in November. In addition, the Foundation oversees the award-winning JUST RUN® youth fitness program.


After September 30th, please contact:

Doug Thurston, Big Sur Marathon Foundation / 916-802-7668