Virtual Race

Press Release

Non-profit organizers cancel the 2020 BMO Vancouver Marathon amid COVID-19 concerns

Registered runners may still enjoy a Virtual Race, collect their tech shirt and medal, plus they’ll receive discounted entry into future events.

UPDATE: Thanks for your enthusiasm in the new BMO Vancouver Marathon Virtual Race and for your patience as we worked on the updated offer below.

As a passionate run community, we all share in your disappointment of not hosting Vancouver’s only Marathon event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was sad for us all, and we apologize for the inconveniences it brought upon you. Thank you, as well, for your patience as we continued to work through the fall-out of this unprecedented situation and tabulated all of the associated costs. While the majority of funds dedicated to the cost of running the event had already been allocated, thanks to the support of the Canadian Government, our valued sponsors and many suppliers, our local non-profit has been able to improve upon the initial offer.

BMO Vancouver Marathon 2020 registered runners had opportunity to receive discounts into future races for an extended period. New registrants will now receive the BMO Vancouver Marathon 2020 Virtual Race, exclusive tech tee and medal, plus 75% off the BMO Vancouver Marathon 2021, 2022 or 2023 event.

RUNVAN® has redirected all savings from this year’s event cancellation back to registered runners through future race offerings that we hope you’ll find fair overall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Event Cancellation FAQS

What was the process for decision making?

The decision to cancel this year’s event was made in response to COVID-19 concerns, and the current directive from the British Columbia Provincial health officer to ban all mass gatherings. Postponing the event does not address the unknowns around when COVID-19 concerns may be resolved. The non-profit Vancouver International Marathon Society is led by a volunteer Board of Directors who are all runners, and is supported by nearly 4,000 volunteers. As a passionate run community, we all share in your disappointment of not hosting Vancouver’s only Marathon event this year. We have collaborated to present alternative solutions that we feel are fair overall. Thank you for your support and understanding given the unfortunate circumstances.

Why are these options better than the initial offer?

Vancouver’s only Marathon event relies on registration and sponsorship funds and is operated and managed by the local non-profit RUNVAN®. While the majority of funds dedicated to the cost of running the event had already been allocated, we kindly requested you to be patient as we continued to work through the fall-out of this unprecedented situation and continued to tabulate all of the associated costs. Thanks to our sponsors and suppliers, who were generous with contracts despite the event’s cancellation, we are able to share these better deferral options directly with you.

Why can’t you just refund my registration?

Entry fees are non-refundable as per race policies agreed to upon registration. While it would be ideal to offer refunds during this difficult time, our non-profit would not be able to financially sustain refunds given the majority of the budget has already been allocated. In other words, funds have been spent per traditional ordering timelines and can’t simply be returned without causing serious cash-flow concerns that may jeopardize the overall sustainability of this long-standing community event. RUNVAN® has instead redirected all savings from this year’s event cancellation back to registered runners through future race offerings that we hope you’ll find fair overall. As a non-profit, RUNVAN® is still forecasting to operate at a financial loss in the short-term.

Where was the money spent?

The majority of the event’s initial budget was already committed to prior to the event’s cancellation. RUNVAN® invests in a marketing campaign that helps to attract runners from 65+ countries, plus makes large advance purchases. Since that product was ordered months in advance of the event cancellation, refunds on products like the 2020 tech shirts and medals are unavailable. Our goal is to still offer in-person Package Pickup for local residents when it is safe to do so, so you may still collect those commemorative rewards. For non-local residents and those unable to make an in-person pickup, we’ll look to mail your rewards. Details will be confirmed with all runners who opt-in to the Virtual Race above. Thank you for understanding.

What is COVID-19?

On March 11, the COVID-19 outbreak was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. March 12, B.C. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that event organizers are to cancel all gatherings of 250 people or more. March 13, the volunteer Board of Directors at RUNVAN® officially announced the cancellation of this year’s event. Vancouver’s only Marathon event draws runners from 65+ countries and many of those countries have their own travel restrictions, as well, as a result of COVID-19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further suggests a ban of large scale events. Given the directive of the health organizations, the BMO Vancouver Marathon could not safely proceed as initially planned.

Why can’t the race be rescheduled?

COVID-19 concerns are proving to be dynamic and ever changing, and we can not predict when the Public Health Agency of Canada will deem it safe to hold a large scale public event. We fully respect decisions that are being made by the health authorities to keep our communities safe, and we want to be part of the solution. As such, we are now focusing on options to honour all the hard work you’ve put into preparing for this year’s race. We also wanted to give you, and our stakeholders, time to create alternative plans. Marathon planning for our non-profit starts more than a year in advance, and we are now focused on delivering the new Virtual Race, and organizing the event’s 50th edition next May.

When will new registration launch?

Registration for future events will launch after health authorities deem it safe for large scale events to return. The offers presented herein are also subject to those running events being able to proceed safely with approval from our local health authorities. Thank you for understanding.

What happens to the money I’ve been raising for charity?

Thank you. Runners have helped to raise over $15 million dollars for charity through our RUN4HOPE Charity Program. Charity Runners may also still run and fundraise until May 15, 2020. Please continue to encourage donations to your personalized GoFundMe page until then. Charities are also feeling the impact of COVID-19 and we encourage individuals who may have the financial ability to donate during this difficult time to consider supporting our RUN4HOPE Charities, including our gold-level charities: BC Cancer Foundation, Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver-Fraser, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School, St. John Ambulance, BC & Yukon.

Thank you again for your patience and understanding during this uncertain and evolving time. We remain hopeful that the public health risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic will improve and encourage everyone to follow the lead of the Public Health Agency of Canada and related health organizations.

Thank you, and we hope to see you again soon.

Virtual Race —

Run & Give —