Cancelled Marathons

BY Hal Higdon

Several marathons were recently cancelled due to storms. Hal explains your best options moving forward.

Got a question about running? You’re in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon’s Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


Any advice for those of us who signed up for the Dallas Marathon, cancelled because of ice and snow? I don’t know what to do at this point: Just run it at home by myself? Try to find another one that is soon? Or wait awhile for a much later race? Most puzzling, I don’t know how to resume training, since I followed one of your programs for 18 weeks. I wouldn’t know where to start if I had to pick another race.


You are not alone. Memphis got cancelled, also because of the weather, and I am certain several smaller marathons met the same fate. Tens of thousands of runners were inconvenienced, although most reluctantly admitted the race directors made the right call. This is not the first time. Several marathons were cancelled for security reasons in the wake of September 11. The cancellation that got the most publicity was last year when a devastating hurricane hit the East Coast one week before the New York City Marathon. Entry fees rarely get refunded, which angers some runners, but often the money collected from runners and sponsors has been spent in advance of the start.

There are no good options. Best is probably to stretch your taper one more week if you can find another marathon that soon. Bart Yasso of Runner’s World, who was at Dallas, joked that everyone should have gotten on a plane and headed to Honolulu, its marathon being the same weekend. Picking a marathon in 2, 3, 4 or more weeks would be a second-best option. You won’t lose much if any fitness; you might arrive at the starting line even more prepared. I suspect the psychological damage done by hitting the “pause” button is more than the physical damage. Postponing your next marathon by 2 or 3 months is one more option. Simply count back from the End Date and start in the middle of the program you choose. For help with your training options, check the Cancelled Marathon schedules on my website.

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About Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for ‘Runner’s World‘ and author of 34 books, including the best-selling ‘Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide’. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that over a quarter of a million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks. Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans — check out more of Hal Higdon’s training plans on his website.