Frequently Asked Questions about the 2020 and 2021 Monterey Bay Half Marathon

Frequently Asked Questions about the 2020 and 2021 Monterey Bay Half Marathon                                                    

Updated August 25, 2020

Are You Going to Hold the 2020 or 2021 Monterey Bay Half Marathon?

No. 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.

Our board determined that, at this time, it is neither safe nor feasible to plan for any races in 2021. 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 non-profit organization to 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 races
  • 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 and November 2021 Races so Early?

We normally begin registration in July for the following April’s marathon and in September for other April 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.

Registration for the Monterey Bay Half Marathon typically begins in March each year. We are not planning on opening registration for the November 2021 race in the spring of 2021. 

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. The next Monterey Bay Half Marathon is scheduled for November 11-13, 2022.

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

What About Those Who Deferred Their 2018 Half Marathon Entry to 2020 or 2021?

There are about 900 or so entrants from the canceled 2018 Monterey Bay Half Marathon who elected to defer to the 2020 or 2021 Monterey Bay Half Marathon. Since those events are canceled or not planned to be held, we have contacted each of those entrants to defer to 2022 or 2023 when we believe it will be safe to hold the race.

If you are one of those 900 and did not receive an email asking you to select your deferral year, please contact

How Will Future the Foundation’s 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 and the November 2022 Monterey

Bay Half Marathon races before registration opens for each race. Check this website for updates.

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 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. 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