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Was Your Marathon Cancelled or Postponed? Here Are Your Next Steps

Written by Charlie

If your marathon is cancelled or postponed, here are the next steps you should take. This post will take you through travel info as well as some running suggestions.

It has been a bad month so far for marathon cancellations and postponements. This post is a running list of the status of some of the biggest races and many have had to cancel. This means well over a hundred thousand runners are left without the race they have trained for and also the travel details that go with traveling to a big race. So, here are your next steps to get these things taken care of if the marathon was cancelled.

Next Steps If Your Marathon was Cancelled or Postponed

Flight Arrangements

Online booking 3D icon airplane on virtual screen

While most big airlines have put out waivers for travel booked so far this month, not many have covered waivers for travel booked earlier than this month. I realize that most of you had booked your airfare a long time ago so here is what you need to know.

The cost to change or cancel your airfare is normally at least $200 per ticket. If you have a non-refundable ticket, you can cancel it but you will receive the difference of your ticket cost and the cancellation fee as a travel credit with an expiration date.

This post details the current travel waivers for the US airlines and they now include waivers for travel booked before March for travel up through April 30. If your race falls in that area, definitely check with your US airline to get your ticket changed. Here are the links to each US airline to help you get started.

What If Your Airline Does Not Offer a Waiver for Travel Booked Before March?

Airlines do have other travel waivers in place for places that are currently the hardest hit. These countries do have several of the upcoming marathons that were cancelled located in them. That means that if your cancelled/postponed marathon was one of the following

  • Jerusalem Marathon – March 20 Postponed until October
  • Rome Marathon – March 29 Cancelled for 2020
  • Paris Marathon – April 5 Postponed until the October 18
  • Milan Marathon – April 5 Postponed with date TBA

you can get a change fee waiver if you would like to keep your ticket and return to the city another time this year. You will need to pay any difference in fare.

You may also be eligible for a refund – like in the case of airlines cancelling flights to Italy. If that is the case, you will get it refunded back to your credit card. If you opt for a refund when the flight is not cancelled, it may be in the form of a travel voucher.

Here are the links for airlines that you may have booked on for these races.

If you booked through an online travel agency (like Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, etc), you will need to contact them directly.

Important: If your airline has not yet allowed waivers for a specific place you are traveling to yet and the trip is not imminent, DO NOT change or cancel it just yet! Read this post for all the reasons why you should wait.

Hotel Reservations

Next up is hotel reservations. Except for some exceptions, as long as you try to cancel a refundable hotel reservation 48-72 hours before the date you are scheduled to check-in, you will be just fine.

However, if you have prepaid for a reservation, you may be on the hook for that. The exception worldwide is Hyatt which will give you 10,000 Hyatt points if you cancel a non-refundable reservation (you still don’t get your money back but you will get the points).

Here are the hotel chain links to give you information about waivers for various places.

  • Hilton – waiver in place for China, Italy, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Israel
  • Hyatt – waiver in place for Greater China, South Korea, Japan, and Italy
  • IHG – waiver in place for Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, and Italy
  • Marriott – waiver in place for Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia and many more Asia Pacific countries.
  • Wyndham – waiver in place for China, South Korea, or Italy

If you were scheduled to run the Jerusalem Marathon, Israel has said all guests coming into the country have to prove they have a place to quarantine for 14 days, meaning that Israel is pretty much off limits. If your hotel provider does not let you waive the change/cancellation fee, ask them what they think you should do about this. They are looking at them case-by-case.

Car Rental Reservations

boston marathon travel

If you have not prepaid for your car rental reservation, you can cancel it for no fee at all. If you did prepay, some car rental companies are allowing you to cancel without a fee. Here are their links:

Check for Alternate Races

regular american express offers

You have trained for so long and really put in the miles – it absolutely stinks to have your race pulled out less than 4 weeks from the running of it. However, you still may be able to do another race and modify your training program for that.

At this point, we really do not know which races will get hit next with cancellations but I have noticed that the smaller races are being able to continue as planned. Many of the issues are for meetings/groups of 1,000 people or more. So, check for smaller, regional marathons that may fit the bill for you. Here are some internet resources for finding races.

At this stage, I would advise trying to find something that you can drive to or within your own country. If you are in the US, you can book travel on any US airline right now and change it for free (but pay any fare difference) if you end up not going. I highly advise booking with Southwest since you can cancel or change at any time for free!

Try a Shorter Distance

We are running up into the spring running season and that means that just about every community will be having races from 5k to even half marathons. Sign-up for one of your local races to get some racing miles under you and give you something to help hone your edge as you wait for another race opportunity.

Try an Ultra-Marathon

Yes, this is definitely going the other way! But, if you are already training for a marathon, you can do a 50k. A 50 miler can be prepped for by doing some longer runs back to back – like do a 13-17 miler the day after your 20 miler. Other than that, you should be able to at least finish it as long as you can get some longer runs in.

The nice thing about ultra marathons is that many of them will be on trails and most of them will be small groups of people – like under 100. These are great conditions for a run at this time of the stuff going on.

Run a Virtual Race

With apps like Strava and the Apple Watch, it is easy enough to setup with friends around the world for challenges and virtual races. Even the now-cancelled NYC Half marathon has a virtual half marathon you can do! This will not get you crowd support and aid stations but it will still give you something to pit your training against!

Keep Running!

I have been hearing from a lot of runners in the last couple of weeks and have seen many more comments online as well that follow this trend – many runners are just pulling up from training or running at all when their marathon is cancelled. As someone who also had their marathon postponed (me for Jerusalem), I totally get that. My runs shortened up a bit since that time since I need to regroup and get figured out what will be next.

But, you have put in a ton of training, miles and time! Do not let that go to waste! Keep up the running, even if you take out some of your race specific runs. Just don’t stop running!

Did you have a marathon cancellation? Comment below with any other thoughts to encourage fellow runners!

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About the author

Charlie

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.

1 Comment

  • I signed up for the Paris Marathon. Saw on their Facebook page that it was postponed. I did start to check what I can do with my flight but couldn’t change online so I didn’t deal with it. On Sunday Delta sent an email that mentioned waivers. Again tried to make changes online but the message was to call customer service. Did just that and I logged a call back as the system sat it was a 4 hour hold. About 6 hours later I received a call and made the change with the most patient and positive CS associate at no fees. Very nice gesture on the part of airline.
    I never book prepaid hotels so could cancel it.

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