COVID-19 update as 2022 registration opens

As we move forward with plans for an international race in 2022, we will be closely monitoring ongoing developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ll be deciding on race weekend protocols — and communicating them to the marathon community — as we approach October. This will include answering questions about which specific safety measures will (or won’t) be mandated.

But as registration opens, there are a couple things we can say definitively in early 2022. They include a new requirement for registering for international races.

Because of the ever-changing nature of Covid-19, international border agencies are continuously adjusting policies regarding crossing the border. We are working with the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Agency and Canada Border Service Agency to ensure we are following all guidelines for international border crossing. As it stands at the opening of registration (Jan. 1, 2022), both the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Agency and Canada Border Service Agency require proof of Covid-19 vaccination to cross the border. The marathon will follow these guidelines for our international races.

That means: For our international races, you must be vaccinated at the time of registration — and show proof of it. This will include uploading a photo of your vaccination card.

Your proof of vaccination should align with current Canadian rules, which currently include having at least two doses of a vaccine accepted for travel, a mix of two accepted vaccines or at least one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For more info on Canadian requirements, click here.

We will alert registrants and potential participants if any adjustments are made as the year moves forward.

10/7/2021 update: Protocols for the 2021 marathon

We are following the recommended CDC guidelines in order to produce a safe race experience. The following protocols are in effect for all participants, staff, volunteers and spectators:

  • Social distancing is always recommended and encouraged while attending this year’s Marathon Race Weekend
  • Masks are REQUIRED at our Health & Fitness Expo
  • Masks are REQUIRED on all Relay Buses and Official Event Vehicles
  • Masks are NOT required in our outdoor areas, including the course, start/finish area and our CONQUERED after party

Thank you for helping us make our race weekend experience safe for all of our staff, participants and spectators!

Update July 29, 2021

For the third time in the 44 years of the Detroit Free Press Marathon, this year’s event will be run solely in the City of Detroit. Running internationally is a beloved and unique component of our race, and because of that, we exhausted every opportunity and avenue, hoping that we would continue that tradition this year.

Our small (but mighty!) team works year-round to bring you a well-organized, fun and safe race every year. And with fewer than 90 days before we return to the start line, the fluidity of this pandemic and the current travel restrictions between the United States and Canada, we must move forward with a U.S.-only event.  This means that the Full Marathon, Half-Marathon and the Marathon Relay that will take place on Sunday, Oct. 17, will all be run within the confines of the City of Detroit.

While crossing the U.S.-Canada border is a fantastic feature of our event, we are excited about the opportunity to showcase all that Detroit has to offer.  The 2021 route will continue to use a combined start and finish line on Fort Street, head north with a route that passes by the Motown Museum, through the historic Boston-Edison neighborhood and the new development of District Detroit. Veteran full marathon runners will recognize much of our course, which as usual, runs through Indian Village, Belle Isle and the Detroit RiverWalk touting gorgeous views of the Detroit River and Windsor, Canada. We are confident this will be a race to remember. Given all we’ve collectively been through over the past 17 months, we hope you will come together with us to bring live racing back to the City of Detroit. We can’t wait to see you at the finish line and celebrate!

Please visit our FAQs to learn more about registration, course update and race day experience.  If you have any questions we have not answered, please feel free to reach out to us at support@freepmarathon.zendesk.com

Update June 24, 2021


Detroit’s Marathon Weekend is a celebration of athleticism, perseverance, community and the best our city has to offer.    

We are thrilled to announce that the weekend of October 15-17 will be live and in person for the 44th annual Detroit Free Press Marathon!   

We’d like to thank the City of Detroit and its health department, along with our official medical provider, Henry Ford Health System, for partnering with us over the last several months to help us move forward with our live race planning this year. We are excited to bring you the world-class event once again that we have brought to our runners and walkers for the past 43 years.  

The Canadian border remains closed for non-essential travel which currently prohibits us from crossing over the Ambassador Bridge and through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. If this remains the case and we are unable to visit our neighbors to the south, our plan is to have a U.S.-only marathon and half marathon course which will travel to the north-end of Detroit and past the Motown Museum, historic Boston-Edison District, Wayne State University and other landmarks the city has to offer. You can view the course  through the link below.   

21 Detroit Free Press Domestic Half Marathon Option Course Map DRAFT 19Jun21

21 Detroit Free Press Marathon Domestic Full Course Map Option DRAFT 19Jun21

We will continue to monitor the border restrictions with the hopes that by October we can run our traditional course. We will communicate updates as they become available.    


For currently registered participants and participants that register before the next price increase on July 5 at 11:59pm, you will have the opportunity to pick up a complimentary gift from the Marathon Shop at the Health and Fitness Expo as a token of our appreciation for your loyalty. For those who deferred from 2020 to 2021 but have not yet registered, please do so before the price increase so you can take advantage of the loyalty gift.  

To register for our in-person or virtual race and for more information, visit our website at www.freepmarathon.com. Click  here  for our FAQs.    

We are excited to return to the streets of Detroit in 2021. This race will not just be a run. It will be a celebration of our participants, supporters, volunteers and more. Come and celebrate with us!     


The Detroit Free Press Staff  

Update April 26, 2021

As April comes to a close, we are still moving forward with plans for both in-person and virtual events this October 15-17, 2021.

We have been meeting with city, state, border officials, as well as our medical team at Henry Ford Health System, to provide a safe and successful experience for you in 2021. We are looking into several protocols that we may need to put in place in order for the event to move forward safely. We are committed to a communication cadence that will keep all participants informed and prepared as details are finalized. 

Update March 27, 2021.

As March comes to a close, we are still moving forward with plans for both in-person and virtual events this October 15-17, 2021. The Detroit Free Press Marathon monitors all state and local COVID-19 mandates and recommendations for gatherings from the CDC, Michigan Health and Human Services Department, the city of Detroit and our official medical partner, Henry Ford Health System. In addition, we are looking closely at events happening within the next few months to determine what COVID-19 related protocols are the most effective to have a safe and fun event.

We will continue to keep you updated on a monthly basis or sooner if we have information to share.

Update February 20, 2021.

While there is not a lot of new information to share regarding our upcoming event and COVID-19, we felt it was important to continue to update you on a monthly basis as we promised. We are cautiously moving forward with plans to hold our event October 15-17, 2021. (more…)

2021 Registration Opening Announcement

Hello Detroit Free Press Marathon Family,

While we all adapted to producing and participating in events virtually, we are hopeful and excited to bring athletes of all abilities back to the streets of Detroit and Windsor for the 2021 Detroit Free Press Marathon weekend, scheduled for October 16 and 17.  Marathon weekend has always been filled with an unmatched energy from the community, volunteers and participants, which we look forward to feeling again next October.  Registration will open on January 1 for all distances both in-person and virtually.


2020 Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon

Detroit’s Marathon Weekend is not just any weekend. It’s a celebration of athleticism, perseverance, community and the best Detroit has to offer. In March when our world as we knew it seemed to change, we were hopeful that we would be able to run together in October.  As time has gone on, it has become clear to us that this will not be the case.  It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing we will not be gathering together at the start line this year. (more…)

Update June 24, 2020.

As we have stated previously, we are still monitoring the situation closely and working with our local, state, federal and international public safety officials. (more…)