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The 2020 Bismarck Marathon has been canceled due to safety concerns associated with COVID-19. Runners who have already registered have options on what to do with their registration fees, including getting it refunded.

The decision was based on the recent uptick in positive cases in Burleigh and Morton Counties, the new Burleigh-Morton task force to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the recent travel restrictions of some states to and from North Dakota. Runners from 30 different states had been registered to race.

“It’s a tough decision to call off a race that we are so passionate about,” Dustin Erhardt, Bismarck Marathon Committee Chairman said, “but ultimately it went against the Bismarck Marathon’s mission to enhance health and wellness in our communities. We felt we had a good plan in place to hold the event safely, but recent events have proven not everything is in our control.”

Registered runners have the option to donate their registration fees, defer the fee to next year’s race or receive a refund. Runners will receive an email and must respond to defer payment or receive a refund. Fees will be refunded within two weeks after the emailed form has been filled. Credit card processing fees will not be refunded.

“We know that training for races is a big part of a runner’s life,” Erhardt said. “Given the recent developments this week, we wanted to make this decision as quickly as possible so our runners wouldn’t feel strung along or train for an event that might not be able to take place.”

The Bismarck Marathon will not be offing a virtual race. Instead the Marathon Committee wants the 2021 Bismarck Marathon to be bigger and better than ever to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the event.

“With the number of races that have went to a virtual and our next marathon being our 40th anniversary celebration,” Erhardt said, “we have decided to forgo a virtual race and focus on making our next marathon as great as it can be.”

The same 40th anniversary swag that had been planned for runners in 2020 will be issued to 2021 runners instead.

“We thank our great sponsors for helping us make the Bismarck Marathon the friendly event that it has been known for and allowing us to provide options to our runners,” Erhardt said.

“We hope for safety and wellbeing to everyone and are already transitioning our focus to how we can make the 40th anniversary celebration that much better.”

The Bismarck Marathon is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. In 2019 the marathon made a record donation of over $45,000 to local charitable organizations.

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