The 2020 Chicago Marathon is the Latest Big Marathon to Cancel

2018 Chicago Marathon lottery
Written by Charlie

The 2020 Chicago Marathon is canceled. Find out what your options are and which option may make the most sense going forward!

The 2020 fall marathon season is starting to crumble for thousands of runners. We saw Boston, Berlin, New York, and now Chicago cancel their fall marathons – three of these are marathons that were originally set for the fall timeframe anyway. This now leaves London as the last World Marathon Major on the calendar – for now.

2020 Chicago Marathon Canceled – What Happens?

Each marathon that has canceled has faced a flurry of questions from participants, namely, what happens to their money? With some marathons claiming they are not able to give refunds, the larger marathons are in a better financial position to offer refunds, especially if they cancel months in advance.

This is a good thing, also, because the large marathons command a very high entrance fee to run 26.2 miles of sanctioned fun in those big cities. Chicago is no different, offering not just refunds but also the chance to defer to another year. This option will likely be one many racers use as the Chicago Marathon is a lottery entry process so getting a guaranteed entry to another year is a good move.

Options for 2020 Chicago Marathon Runners

Here is what the Chicago Marathon organizers have to say about these options:

Entry refund

All registered participants for the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be eligible to select a refund for their 2020 race entry. Due to the complexities of cancelling the event and the anticipated quantity of refunds, we expect the refund process to take several weeks or months. Participants who select this opportunity will be notified via email when the refund process has started.

2021, 2022 or 2023 Deferment (place and entry fee)

All registered participants for the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be eligible to defer their place and entry fee to a future event (2021, 2022 or 2023).

Participants who select this option will be required to claim their entry during the 2021, 2022 or 2023 event application window. An email will be sent to eligible participants when the application window is open. The email will include instructions on how to claim their complimentary guaranteed entry. 

Which Option to Choose?

Not only is getting a deferment a great idea for a lottery race but these big city marathons raise their fees every year or so. Getting a guaranteed entry in 2023, for example, could save you money. But, that is also imaging that you will be in a position to get to Chicago in 2023 (obviously a great option for Chicago-based runners).

But, during this time of uncertainty, getting a refund could be a sound choice as well. It would let you get money back in your pocket that you could use towards a spring marathon or just save to see what happens with the coronavirus situation.

Bottom Line

The 2020 Chicago Marathon is canceled – will London be next? The clock is ticking for them and I think most runners are assuming it will be canceled. Even if it isn’t, it may be difficult for many runners to travel to London. We shall see.

If you are looking for a fall marathon (unless you just want to bag the 2020 marathon season and shoot for a huge PR next year), definitely scope out smaller races. These are not as big of a logistical problem as big races, both for distancing and limiting contact. Plus, you could discover some small town marathon that is really great!

Featured image Courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.