In a disturbing sign that the reach of the COVID-19 pandemic will extend well into 2021, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation (BSMF) announced this week that it will suspend all in-person events and programs through the Monterey Bay Half Marathon race weekend that was set to take place in November, 2021.

“We are devastated about canceling all our in-person events and programs for 2020 and now for 2021,” says race director Doug Thurston. “That said, we have refocused our staff’s creative efforts on producing our Big Surreal Virtual Challenge and look forward to hearing how our runners enjoy the experience.”

In a post on its website, the organization said that “our board determined that, at this time, it is neither safe nor feasible to plan for any races in 2021. After what we have all been through with this pandemic, we realize that there are still so many unknowns. Things seem to change with each passing week, usually not for the better.”

The 36-year-old nonprofit organization hopes to minimize financial and operational damage so the organization can organize races when safe to do so. With no current races on the horizon, it is reducing staff to Thurston and administrative manager Chris Balog.

In all, the following events/programs have been canceled:

  • November 2020 Monterey Bay Half Marathon in-person and virtual races. Registration had not yet opened for either event.
  • Just Run youth fitness program for the 2020/21 school year

BSMF has suspended all plans for the following 2021 events/programs:

  • April 2021 Big Sur Marathon weekend of races
  • June 2021 Run in the Name of Love
  • November 2021 Monterey Bay Half Marathon race weekend
  • Grants for volunteer organizations that support race weekend efforts

Its website message continued: “We are devastated about canceling all our 2020 in-person events and programs. As we assess the near future of larger in-person running events, we have made the very difficult decision to suspend the Foundation’s race operations, effective September 30, 2020. This suspension will continue until permits for large events are available in Monterey County and in California and race planning and registrations can begin again safely. This action allows our organization to operationally weather this global health crisis until we can safely stage our races again.”