Alternatives to the Canceled Minneapolis Marathon
So, you just found out the Minneapolis Marathon has been canceled. You spent months training but the race isn’t happening because organizers were unable to “…establish a new marathon and half marathon course by June 5.”
Understandably you’re disappointed. And as a vested resource in the Minneapolis running community, we are, too. It was reported that race organizers failed to get their race route to the Minneapolis Parks Department on time, so their permit was denied. This seems crazy negligent, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume there’s something bigger going on within the organization.
So, now what?
Well, you can always take a break, register for a fall marathon like Twin Cities or Mankato, and try again. You can run a few summer half marathons, then jump right back into marathon training. Who knows, maybe you’ll have a better experience from training for the next five months.
But you’re a runner, and we know that your ideal option would be to find another race one or two weeks away. If you’re willing to travel, there are a few solid options below.
How to Extend your Taper
I was thinking about what I would do if suddenly the race I had been preparing for was canceled. Do you extend your taper? Go a week in reverse with your training? Sit around waiting for an extra week or two?
I reached out to my own coach, Antonio Vega, to get his take.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to have a race the following weekend, extending the taper is the best option. In order to extend the taper the correct way, the day of the original race, instead of racing, use it as a long run around 12-14 miles to keep your fitness level up. Use one workout the following week to have a tempo run at goal race pace. I recommend 3×1 mile at goal race pace with 3 minute recovery. This workout should be done early in the week. Once this workout is completed the rest of the training runs need to be easy runs in order to get ready for the race.
I also asked Dennis Barker, Head Coach of Team USA Minnesota, to see if he had any sage wisdom.
I think runners should stick with their original plan but adjust it to be a more gradual reduction in mileage. I wouldn’t add any big workouts, just repeat a couple of the already scheduled workouts. I don’t think it’s a huge deal if they did their longest run four weeks out from the race rather than three weeks. Maybe it will end up even being better for them and they will have a new normal.
Bottom line, if you need to adjust your marathon date by a week or two, it’s not the end of the world!
Below are a few alternatives to the canceled Minneapolis Marathon. We hope you find something!
You’ll have to act fast as this race is THIS Sunday, May 29. We wrote about this one earlier, and have nothing but great things to say. Organizers of this event have graciously offered a $10 discount when you register with code 102016MCM. Because this is a week earlier than you were planning, it may be tough to cut your taper short by a week.
If you’re willing to travel outside the great state of Minnesota, there are a few other races around the same time frame as MPLS. We reached out to all of these race organizers, and not only are the races still happening, but they offered some thoughts and a few discounts on why their races are great alternatives.
While we have no direct experience with these races (other than brief correspondence with organizers), they haven’t been canceled due to dereliction of duty - which is more than we can say about the Minneapolis Marathon.
About four hours from Minneapolis, you’ll find the “Marathon to Marathon.” Since it began in 1996, this race finishes, in the village of Marathon Iowa and “enjoys small town friendliness and big time fun!”
Al Pierce, race director, shared with me that this is a, “Runner friendly USA Track and Field Certified and Sanctioned Marathon. It’s a Boston Qualifier. The course is Flat and Fast with only a 15′ drop in elevation from Storm Lake to Marathon (population 240). All marathon and half marathon runners get a free home cooked breakfast or lunch in Marathon after the race.”
They provide bus service back to Storm Lake. Most full and half marathoners also get “Dri-Fit shirts” but are not guaranteed with late registrants.
Registration: $60 before June 1. Pierce says you can register online or on race day and they will offer discounts for Minneapolis Marathon registrants (contact them to see what kind).
5 hours east of Minneapolis, you’ll find the HFM Maritime Marathon in Manitowac WI. The out-and-back course features amazing views of the Lake Michigan shoreline as you run from Manitowoc to Two Rivers. The course is flat, fast, and a Boston Qualifier.
Three events are offered: full marathon, half marathon, and a four person relay.
Registration: $85 before May 31. Use discount code HFM16 for a $10 discount.
4.5 hours from Minneapolis, you’ll find the Swan Lake Marathon, half marathon and 5K. Since 2003, these small races have been held in cooperation with Swan Lake Christian Camp. The race course is USATF certified, and runners receive t-shirts, medals, custom bib numbers, and awards. All finishers get to ring the “camp bell” to mark their completion.
According to Renne Nuefeld, Race Director, “The Swan Lake Marathon is a beautiful rural course with the best hospitality around. There is lodging located at the race venue and it’s close to Minnesota!”
Proceeds go towards Swan Lake Christian Camp’s general fund. Not all children can afford camp, but Swan Lake will never turn someone away. Parents are asked to pay what they can and monies from camper scholarships cover the difference.
Registration: $65 before June 1. $10 discount with code MNRUN.
Also about 4 hours from Minneapolis, this “trail” marathon runs from Dyersville (of Field of Dreams fame) to Dubuque on the scenic and rustic Heritage Trail. This is a point to point, chip timed marathon, and a Boston Qualifer. This is a “military style” event, which means minimal support.
Connie Hodge, race director, says they offer a discount to active military, and will take participants up to an hour before the start. She also mentioned they have a great team of pacers, and that the course is run on a soft & flat trail system (old railroad bed) sheltered with trees and shade.
This event can be completed as an individual marathoner or a relay team. Relay Teams can consist of 2 – 12 members. All proceeds from this event directly support Tri-State military and their families.
Registration: $75 before June 1.
For a list of ALL marathon in the country, see the Find My Marathon complete guide.
Other Options for the Canceled Minneapolis Marathon
Of course, we haven’t forgotten that there was also a half marathon and relay that was canceled right along with the marathon. Most of the races we listed above also have half marathon options, or you can checkout our race calendar (filter by the Half Marathon category) to find a whole bunch more. (We highly recommend the popular Lola’s Lake Waconia Half Marathon and Lake Region Run!)
Options for longer races could be the Chester Woods Trail Races in Rochester (50k, 10M, 5K trail run). There will be a $10 discount for anyone who emails the race director their confirmation number for the 50k and 10 mile.
If you’re looking for something completely different, checkout the FANS 6, 12 and 24 hour runs at Fort Snelling State Park.
So, What Will you Do?
It stinks that they canceled the Minneapolis Marathon. If you end up registering for one of these other races, we’d love to hear about it! Drop us a line with a photo from your race.