Change In Memorial Marathon Date Affects Organizers, Runners

Sunday, March 15th 2020, 10:52 pm

The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon has been postponed to Oct. 4 due to COVID-19 concerns.  

A time usually spent planning the largest race in Oklahoma is now spent trying its best to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

"None of these decisions are easy,” Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum Executive Director Kari Watkins said. “You're balancing the emotions and science and should win. As emotional and as powerful as this place is, our public health outweighs everything."

Marathon officials decided the safest route was to move the race six months down the road.  

The museum worked with health and emergency management officials to decide on the best date.  

"We've looked all week at an alternative date," Watkins said.  "We looked at other races and we looked at when streets were available, when the Cox Center was available, when hotels could accommodate our runners."

The race is vital to the city’s economy. It brings in approximately $10 million over a typical race weekend.

"I've heard several people say they still want to do that distance on that day or you just prepare for that next season?" Red Coyote Running and Fitness training program coordinator Heather Crawford said.

A change in a marathon date can mean a change in how a runner trains for it.   

"I actually really like the October race but it also gives these people that were maybe struggling in their training right now," Crawford said. "Whether they were injured or feeling like they were behind, they now have this time to catch up."

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum has been shut down temporarily and officials said the 25th anniversary ceremony will be altered in some way.

But no details have been outlined at this time.  

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