Run the NYC Marathon Anywhere For Free - Here's How to Sign Up For the Virtual Event

Samantha Brodsky

The world's largest marathon, the New York City Marathon, is canceled this year due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. By now, New York Road Runners (NYRR) should have connected directly with runners about the option to receive a full refund of their entry fee or a guaranteed complimentary marathon entry in either 2021, 2022, or 2023. Though runners who were originally registered for the in-person marathon will not get special offers for the Virtual TCS New York City Marathon taking place from Oct. 17 through Nov. 1, they are invited - and encouraged - to participate. It's the third annual virtual NYC marathon, first introduced in 2018.

Registration for the virtual marathon opens on Tuesday, July 28, at 12 noon ET and remains open through the end of the race period on Nov. 1. Runners must register through NYRR and link their NYRR account to an account on Strava, a performance-tracking platform, to log their race times, NYRR told POPSUGAR. There are four tiers of entry in this virtual race, one of which is completely free.

This free option, called "Run For the Love of Running," has an unlimited capacity and you will receive 10 percent off of the NYRR Coaching Lab Essentials 26.2 marathon training plan with access to private forums and town halls to speak with NYRR coaches, if you wish to use it, as well as a 30-day Strava subscription. You'll get a Strava digital finisher badge upon finishing but no medal. To get a medal, you would have to sign up for at least the second-lowest tier, "Run For the Medal," which costs $50 for NYRR members and $60 for non-members and also has unlimited capacity.

The two other (top) tiers have limited capacity: "Run to Fundraise For NYRR Team For Kids" and "Run to Gain Guaranteed Entry." These both cost $150 for NYRR members and $175 for non-members. The former requires you to fundraise $500 by Sept. 30 to support Rising New York Road Runners and NYRR Run For the Future programs and has a capacity of 200 first come, first served spots. The latter has a capacity of 1,000 first come, first served spots. Both come with free access to the NYRR Coaching Lab Essentials 26.2 and a 60-day Strava subscription, and finishers get a guaranteed, non-complimentary spot for a future marathon upon finishing and uploading their results on time (aka, you're guaranteed a spot, but you still have to pay).

For the bottom two tiers - "Run For the Medal" and "Run For the Love of Running" - there is no time limit for the marathon, but runners must complete 26.2 miles in a single run or run/walk during one calendar day between Oct. 17 and Nov. 1 and upload their activity to Strava. For the top two tiers, runners must complete the full 26.2-mile distance within eight hours and upload their results to Strava by 11:59 p.m. (in the participant's respective time zone) on November 4 - this will guarantee their non-complimentary entry to a future marathon, according to NYRR.

"Our Virtual TCS New York City Marathon will connect the global running community at a time when more and more people are running as a way to stay healthy during these difficult times," Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of NYRR, said in a statement. "Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced a cancellation of this year's in-person race through the five boroughs of New York City, we're excited to continue taking the marathon journey with runners who will be challenging themselves on 26.2-mile courses around the world."

For more information about the Virtual TCS New York City Marathon and its registration tiers, visit And, if you registered for the in-person NYC Marathon this year and need further information about your options moving forward, head on over to the NYRR website.

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