Shutdown's effect on races grows

October, 9, 2013
10/09/13
5:13
PM ET
Another race run on federal park land, the Towpath Marathon in Ohio (originally scheduled for Oct. 13), has been postponed because of the partial federal government shutdown that began on Oct. 1.

During the shutdown, national parks are closed, including for the purpose of races. Last week, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon in Virginia, which runs for 8 miles on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, was postponed from Oct. 6 to Nov. 10.

The Towpath Marathon, which is run in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, announced yesterday that it will be postponed until Nov. 3.

"We have reached the drop-dead date where we cannot adequately address the logistics and safety concerns outlined in our permit," the race said in announcing the postponement. "Simply put, Congress has not acted and we have run out of time."

If the shutdown continues close enough to the Nov. 3 postponement date, the marathon will be further postponed to Nov. 10, organizers said.

Current registrants who don't want to run on the new date can defer their registration to the 2014 race or can contact the race and "discuss other options including refunds."

Last year's Towpath Marathon had 429 finishers. The accompanying half marathon had 1,094 finishers, and the 10K had 521 finishers.

Other races are also dealing with ramifications of the shutdown.


The Freedom's Run Marathon usually runs through four national parks in West Virginia and Maryland, including Harper's Ferry and the Antietam battlefield. The race has stuck with its original date, Oct. 12, but will now be run entirely in West Virginia, starting and finishing in Shepherdstown.

The Le Grizz 50-miler, usually held in Hungry Horse, Mont., has changed its course for this year's race, scheduled for Oct. 12. Because the normal course requires a US Forest Service permit, the race will be held on non-federal land in Polebridge, about an hour north.

Two of the largest marathons in the country say they plan to be run as in normal years, but are having to consider contingency plans.

The Marine Corps Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 27, finishes at the Marine Corps War Memorial, which is National Park Service land.

"Currently, we are continuing to plan for the 38th Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 27," race spokeswoman Tami Faram told Runner's World Newswire.

Faram said more than 60 percent of the usual marathon course is on National Park Service property.

"We are certainly having conversations with law enforcement and other partners, but nothing has changed at this point," Faram said.

The New York City Marathon, scheduled for Nov. 3, starts at Fort Wadsworth, a national park on Staten Island.

"[The New York Road Runners] is working closely with our city, state and federal partners to establish contingency plans in case they are ultimately needed," race organizers told CNBC.

NYRR clarified to CNBC that those contingency plans are in regard to holding the race on Nov. 3 rather than a replacement date.

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