MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – The 2021 Myrtle Beach Marathon is shifting its date from early March to early May due to continuing issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to city leaders, the marathon is vacating its current March 6 date and will now take place on Saturday, May 1. The date change was approved during Tuesday’s Myrtle Beach City Council meeting
City manager Jonathan “Fox” Simons Jr. said due to some issues associated with the coronavirus, they can’t secure adequate medical treatment for the race from Grand Strand Medical Center.
According to race organizers, all Myrtle Beach Marathon registrations will be automatically transferred to the May 1 date. No action is required from participants at this time.
All those who have signed up for either the marathon, half-marathon, or the 5K race will have their bibs mailed one week prior to race day.
Each distance will now have a virtual race option for anyone who is unable to attend the new date and would like to switch to virtual, according to race organizers. The Virtual Race results window will still begin Feb. 24 and will now extend to April 30.
Some marathon runners said the date change impacts some runners because the new May 1 date is a bit too close for other races they’ve already committed to, including runner James Mcllrath.
“I have a 50-mile trail race that’s scheduled the week before where they moved the Myrtle Beach marathon,” McIlrath said. “I was suppose to run 50 miles and then they moved the race until the week after that. There’s no way physically I’ll be able to do a good race a week after a marathon.”
Chip Parrot was training to run Myrtle Beach’s half-marathon distance on March 6. He said switching from the cooler weather in March to the hotter temperatures in May, has him a bit concerned.
“Whenever you run a half or especially a full-marathon, the temperatures really affects the pace you’re running,” Parrot said. “If you run real fast, the heat will start slowing you down.”
Parrot said rescheduling the marathon impacts local businesses banking on tourists during this pandemic.
“It really impacts the [area] a lot if you start thinking about money,” Parrot said. “All the restaurants and hotels this affects.”
“The last I heard, the registration for the race was about 5,000 people,” Mcllrath added. “This event is a favorite of people from other places. It’s a course that’s a Boston qualifier, so for those people that are trying to run really fast and qualify for those big events like a Boston marathon, New York or a Chicago, this is a race they count on because of the weather and the flat course. So it will make it difficult for them. But we get a lot of people from out of town.
He said the city’s concerns about having to reschedule the event are understandable because of the pandemic emergency.
“We don’t want anyone to not receive the care they need and we don’t want to jeopardize anybody that’s a frontline worker at the medical center,” McIlrath said. “Those are our friends and our neighbors [so having to reschedule] is understandable. It is a kick in the gut but we have to deal with it.”
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