Will Coronavirus/COVID-19 effect the 2020 Colorado Marathon events?

As we learn to adapt with the challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are all confronted with difficult decisions on a daily basis. In an effort to support the health and safety of our community, we have decided to shift the 2020 Colorado Marathon to a solely virtual race.

In its 19th year, the Colorado Marathon has always depended on community support and sponsorships. Those great relationships are what makes this decision even more difficult.

As fellow runners, we understand your disappointment and we empathize with your frustrations. You’ve trained hard over the past few months and we want your training to be worth it! We can still run – just not close to each other in large groups.

We deeply regret not being able to have the 19th annual Colorado Marathon in person, but we’re here to offer creative, alternative options for each and every runner.  Since the in-person event scheduled for May 3, 2020, has been canceled, each participant will be given a choice of four options listed below.  We know there are many pressing issues right now, and we want you to rest assured that we tried to keep your best interest in mind.

Each person’s situation is different, so we tried to think of options that would appeal to most runners while still enabling the race to support our charitable partners in future years. We also understand the uncertainty of the impacts of this virus, so we tried to be as accommodating as possible. Please carefully read the following four options:


You MUST SELECT ONE OPTION BEFORE 1 pm on March 30, 2020*. To select your option, please see the instructions after Option 4.

OPTION 1**: Virtual Race

Want to put all that hard training toward a race, with a bonus of saving money for 2021?!? Transfer to the Virtual Race – it’s FREE! You’ll receive all of the race swag that you would normally get: shirt, medal (for full, half, and relay) and koozie. The Virtual Race is to be run on your own – your choice of time, place, and date.  

Want to run the Virtual Race, but feel like you want to run a shorter distance?  We get it – running a marathon alone might not be your jam. That’s why we’re allowing all runners to transfer down (transfer to a lower-distance race) at no extra charge for the Virtual Race.

The Virtual Race must be completed and submitted by Sunday, May 3, 2020.  Entries received after that date will not be accepted.  Once you’ve selected Virtual Race distance, we will send you an email with instructions on how to submit your time and options for receiving your swag.  Your results will be posted to the official Colorado Marathon website.  

As an added bonus, you’ll get $20 off your 2021 registration! After we accept your results, we’ll send you an email with a special $20 discount code to be used for the 2021 Colorado Marathon registration from May 15 – Jun 15, 2020!

OPTION 2: 2021 Deferment

If you’d like to run the race in 2021, you can defer your 2020 registration at no cost and then you’ll be signed up for the 2021 race.  However, with this option, you will not receive any 2020 race swag.

OPTION 3***: Have a portion of your 2020 registration donated to our various nonprofits and partners.

Ready to make a difference for the organizations we team up with each year?!  Then apply $35 of your 2020 registration fee to the pool. $35 of the registration you’ve already paid will be donated directly to some of the organizations listed on our website here.  

OPTION 4: Partial Refund

Get a partial refund. Most races, including the Colorado Marathon, have a strict no-refund policy (see the waiver you signed when you registered). Given the circumstances and the impact of the coronavirus, we are making a one-time exception to give each registrant a 40% refund (refund applies to your registration price, inclusive of discount codes; excludes insurance, taxes, any prior race transfers and processing fees).  If you choose this option and have registered in the last 90 days, you’ll see a credit to your method of payment. If you registered more than 90 days ago, you’ll receive a check.

Please note that before choosing this option, all refunds will have an impact on the long-term viability of the race. We are no different than other races; expenses have already been paid and this will impact the future of the race. But we felt it’s best for the community to offer something to people who might need it during this uncertain time. We appreciate your consideration.

To select your option, please log in to our registration provider’s website here:


If you did not create an account during registration, you will need to enter your e-mail and click on the “No Password?” button to get a link sent to your e-mail for setting up an account.

Once logged in, find the event “2020 Colorado Marathon” and click on the pencil icon in the Edit column on the right side (If you don’t see your registration, following the instructions on the bottom of the page).

Scroll down the page and answer the new question “Select race cancellation option“. Once you have made your selection you can then click the blue “Submit” button at the bottom of the page to save your changes.

Note that you will NOT receive an additional confirmation e-mail (unless you choose the Virtual Race), but can verify your choice by logging in to the dashboard again.


* If you do not select an option by 1 pm on March 30, 2020, you acknowledge that the no-refund policy applies to your 2020 registration and you waive all rights to any and all options outlined above.

** Virtual Race results cannot be used as a qualifying time for any other race. Virtual Race results are not officially sanctioned by any athletic or running governing body.

*** Colorado Marathon will not issue a charitable receipt for any donations. Please consult with your tax accountant if you have questions.

***** Options 3 & 4 do not apply if you received a complimentary entry.

The only exceptions to the 2020 registration waiver are outlined in this email.  All other terms and conditions in the waiver remain in effect, and no further or future exceptions will apply.  

Registration insurance was available for runners to purchase during their Colorado Marathon registration and covers the following reasons listed here.  Registration insurance does not apply to race cancellations.  The registration insurance that was offered is from an independent company and that company is in no way affiliated with The Colorado Marathon.  The terms & conditions of the insurance are completely separate and unrelated to The Colorado Marathon.

Any questions about the insurance need to be directed to info@timberlinetiming.com.

How do I register?

Online registration for 2020 is is only available for the virtual race (all distances)!

Sign up here to ensure your entry!

The Colorado Marathon is an environmentally conscious event, thus, we will only have online registration in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of paper waste and other resources. Thank you for your support.


The 10k start is just west of the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant on Mountain Avenue between Mason St. and Howes St., in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins, approximately 300 yards from the event finish line located on N. Howes St.

The Marathon start is in the Cache La Poudre Canyon at Steven’s Gulch, approximately 17 miles up the canyon from the intersection with State Highway 287. Event-provided luxury buses will depart from the parking lot at Remington St. and Oak St. for the marathon. There is free parking in the surface level lot and also in the parking garage one block to the north at the intersection of E. Mountain Avenue and Remington Street. NO access to the marathon start is available through the Poudre Canyon. There is no parking available at the marathon start. Any runners dropped off by cars accessing the marathon start via the Canyon highway will be disqualified. For more information on busing click here.

The Half Marathon start is located at the Half Marathon point for the Marathon. The Half Marathon start can ONLY be accessed by the buses provided by the race. Buses to the Half Marathon start leave from the Fort Collins Transportation Center at Mason and Laporte Streets. Free parking is available at the parking structure at the same intersection. NO access to the Half Marathon start is available through the Poudre Canyon. Any runners dropped off by cars accessing the Half Marathon start via the canyon highway will be disqualified. For more information on busing click here.

The 5K start is located 3.1 miles from the finish on the main marathon course and is only accessed by the bus. For more information on busing click here.


For information on packet pick-up and expo click here.


All aid stations will have Eldorado Springs Water and Lemon Lime Nuun Endurance Drink. Honey Stinger Energy Gels and Chews will be available at the Green Pipe Aid Station at mile 12.9 and the Bagel Hill Aid Station at mile 19.1. See the description of each Marathon aid station here.


The event does not refund, transfer, or roll forward an entry fee.

Note: An entrant may not transfer their entry to another person.

We have a strict NO REFUND and NO TRANSFER policy, no exceptions (injury/pregnant/called out of town unexpectedly/etc.). You are welcome to pick up your goody bag and race shirt, or have someone pick those items up for you if you are not running.

It is against race policy to give your bib to someone else.

Running with someone else’s bib number is a safety and liability issue for race staff and medical personnel, unfair to those who didn’t get to sign up before registration closed, and alters race results, sometimes depriving a deserving award winner of their medal. Anyone running under an incorrect number will be disqualified from the race and may be banned from future Colorado Marathon events.


A participant has 6 hours to complete the marathon (13:44 per mile) and the half marathon (27:28 per mile). Walkers are welcome if the course can be completed on time. Additional cutoffs for the marathon are 3:15 (9:45 am) at the half marathon point, 4:15 (10:45 am) at Ted’s Place (approximately mile 17) and 5:15(11:45 am) at the turnoff to the bike path (approximately mile 21). No baby strollers or wheeled conveyances are allowed, except in the 10k.



For information on lodging, click here.

There are numerous affiliated hotels that offer special rates. For a list of these hotels visit the lodging section of our website.


For information on bus loading, please see the Race Info page by clicking here.


All but the last 5 miles of the course is accessible by car prior to race day (please note, no cars will be allowed in the canyon on race day). To drive the Marathon course, head north on College Avenue (this is also highways 287 and 14). The road will turn west as it leaves Fort Collins. Follow it for about another mile until you come to the Highway 287 fork (it turns to the northwest in a gradual right turn).

Stay on Highway 287 until you reach the left turn (to the west) for Highway 14 and the Poudre Canyon. This corner is, roughly, the 17 mile mark of the marathon. Proceed up the Canyon to both the Half Marathon start (at Gateway Park) and to the Marathon start (at Steven’s Gulch). If you look carefully, mile markers should be visible as painted numbers on the north side of the road. To return, retrace your route to the corner of Highways 287 and 14 (the 17 mile mark), and to see the rest of the course turn right (south) on Highway 287.

The course then follows Highway 287 to the intersection with County Road 54G, approximately 1.3 miles. Take a right (south) and follow the county road up and over the course’s only hill. Follow the road into the City of Laporte to Cache La Poudre Middle School. From this point it is approximately 5.5 miles to the finish line. The course follows the Poudre Poudre River Trail (running on the west and south side of the school, then southeast following the Cache La Poudre River) to Lee Martinez Park (mile 25) near downtown Fort Collins. The last 3/4 of a mile of the course leaves the bike path through the parking lot at Lee Martinez park and turns south on Sherwood St., then east on Maple St., north on Meldrum St., east on Cherry St. before turning south toward the finish line on Howes St. The finish line is adjacent to Washington Park.


Human physiology is variable and so is the reaction to altitude. Everyone will run a little slower because there is less oxygen at 6,000 feet than there is at sea level; however, the degree to which it will affect you is dependent on your own lung capacity, oxygen exchange rate, the size of your heart, the muscle composition of your legs, and a myriad of other factors (some of which are probably not measurable or obvious, at all). That’s no direct help to you, we know… and not the answer you were looking for.

The good news is that our course is VERY fast. The downhill will mitigate much of the altitude handicap and for most people there will be enough help left over to run a faster marathon than they might at low altitude. Everyone enjoys the scenery and we have yet to receive comments from low altitude runners where they tell us they were disappointed in coming. We hope you enter, run, and have a great time in Fort Collins. We’ll do our best to see that you do. That’s what our race is all about. If you do decide to come to “Fort Fun” and race in May, here are some suggestions on dealing with the altitude:

  • Make sure you stay well hydrated through the entire event. Most of us know that drinking fluids during a long race is important, but at altitude it is VITAL. Drink plenty of replacement fluid before, during, and after the marathon. Drinking replacement fluid is better than plain water. On rare occasions people have “overdosed” on plain water. Replacement fluid has enough electrolytes to keep your body in balance and it’s safe to drink copious amounts. Our race offers water and replacement fluid on the course and there will be plenty at the finish and the starting lines.
  • Be very conservative with anaerobic stress. Even living and training at 5,000 feet, we know that when we get into oxygen debt at higher altitudes, it’s really tough to get back out. You should be cautious about running any harder than what feels reasonably comfortable. That’s a pretty tough task if you’re running a mean uphill or racing closely with another person, but it’s very important. Our race is down hill and flat with one moderate hill at 17 miles (6 miles into the Half Marathon) so you won’t encounter any tough or nasty sections in either event.
  • Be as fit and rested as you can be when you arrive. This may seem obvious as it’s good advice before any race, but in an altitude marathon it’s even more important. The best way to be prepared is to be well-rested and to have done lots of aerobic work and hill training. This, of course, includes a good diet and adequate sleep in the last few weeks before the race.
  • Some people find it helpful to take an aspirin or two before bedtime. Sleeplessness is a common complaint of “flatlanders” at altitude and for those of us who aren’t aspirin sensitive it’s a good idea to take some before bedtime. Many people feel it’s an effective way of fighting the sleeplessness that accompanies a trip to higher altitude.
  • Finally, have a conservative race plan. Run the downhill at a pace that’s easy, relaxed, and that you know you can match on the flatter parts of the course. The Poudre Canyon road offers very “runnable” downhill and by running it at a conservative pace you save your strength and energy for the last miles of the race… and that’s the real magic of the Colorado Marathon course.

Awards given out on race day will be based on gun time, not chip time.


Top 5 Male/Female overall, Top 3 Male/Female Masters;

Top 3 in following age groups: 19 & under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+

All Marathon finishers will receive a finisher medal and a collector’s finisher print.

Half Marathon:

Top 5 Male/Female overall, Top 3 Male/Female Masters;

Top 3 in following age groups: 19 & under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+

All Half Marathon finishers will receive a finisher medal and a collector’s finisher print.


Top 3 Male/Female Overall and Top Master Male/Female;

Top 3 in following age groups: 19 & under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+

All 10k finishers will receive a collector’s finisher print.


Top 3 Male/Female Overall and Top Master Male/Female.

All 5k finishers will receive a collector’s finisher print.

Relay Marathon:

Top Male/Female/Coed Teams Overall.

All Relay Marathon finishers will receive a finisher medal and a collector’s finisher print.

Is the Colorado Marathon a Boston Qualifier?

Yes it is. In fact, all marathons that have a certified course are Boston qualifiers. Our course happens to be one of the most successful at providing qualifying performances. The Colorado Marathon has qualified roughly 16-18% of all entrants each year.

Will the race entries be capped?

For the safety of our race participants, the entry numbers will be capped to control the numbers at the Half Marathon and Marathon starting lines. We would love to be able to let everyone in, but safety requires that we limit the field. The number of participants is capped at 1700 for the Marathon, 1,500 for the Half Marathon, 700 for the 10K, and 300 for the 5K. Register early to ensure a spot.

How do I get my packet?

See packet pick-up and expo information on the expo page.


All competitors in the Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K MUST ride the buses. No parking is available at the starts. Any runner being dropped off via the canyon highway will be disqualified. For more information on busing click here.


There will be 12 marathon aid stations roughly every other mile. There will be port-o-lets and basic first aid kits at each one. There will also be HAM emergency radios or cell phone communications for emergencies at each station.


In order to protect the safety of race participants, MP3 players, iPods, or other devices used with headphones are highly discouraged. Participants who choose to wear such devices assume all risks associated.


If you are already registered for a race you are allowed to switch to a different distance. For example, a marathoner is permitted to switch to the half marathon, 10K, or 5K. This difference in race fees is non-refundable.

The option to change your race distance will be available in February 2020 here..A $20 change fee will apply.



The Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K will have a bag checks. We’ll do the best job we can to see that your bag is safely returned to you at the finish line. However, we strongly suggest that you bring nothing breakable or valuable with you to the start. We are not responsible for anything that you check as we have 2,500 bags to move in only a short time. Small bags would be appreciated.

For the relay, we will deliver the bags for runner one from the start to the Half Marathon mark (Exchange Zone 1). We will deliver the bags for runner two from the Half Marathon mark to Cache La Poudre Middle School (Exchange Zone 2). Runner two is responsible for transporting runner three’s bag to the finish line.


The parking structure adjacent to the bus loading area is convenient for participants and spectators. It’s located at the corner of Mason and Laporte Streets. If you’re coming from outside Fort Collins, take the highway 14 (Mulberry St.) exit (#269) and travel west to College Avenue. Turn right (north) on College Ave and proceed 1/2 mile to Laporte Street. Turn left (west) and go one block. The parking structure is on the southeast corner of the intersection. Additional parking and other parking structures can be found throughout downtown but this parking structure is convenient both to the bus loading area and the finish line. Parking is FREE on Sundays.


The Colorado Marathon apparel is available at the expo on race weekend and through Runners Roost afterwards.


No cars, except local residents, will be allowed in the Cache La Poudre Canyon during the race. Unfortunately, safety of the participants prevents our allowing anyone on the first 15 miles of the course of the Marathon and the first five miles of the Half Marathon.

No spectators will be allowed to park at or near the intersection of 287 and 54G. Please plan to spectate from either Ted’s Place or the Cache La Poudre Middle School (descriptions below).

The 17-mile mark, Ted’s Place:

The corner of Highways 14 and 287 is an excellent location to see the race. From downtown Fort Collins, head north on College Avenue (this is also Highways 287 and 14). The road will turn west as it leaves Fort Collins. Follow it for about another mile until you come to the Highway 287 fork (it turns to the northwest in a gradual right turn). Stay on Highway 287 until you reach the left turn (to the west) for Highway 14 and the Poudre Canyon. This corner is, roughly, the 17 mile mark of the marathon. Limited parking is available on the northwest corner of the intersection. Please be cautious of the runners on the south side of the road.

The 21-mile mark, Cache La Poudre Middle School:

The course follows a fairly narrow road into the city of Laporte and it’s not recommended that spectators follow the course. However, easy access to the next spectator point can be found by following Highway 287 back toward Fort Collins (southeast). Look for County Road 21 (North Overland Trail Road) which forms an intersection with Highway 287 at the top of a hill. Turn right (south) and follow the county road into the city of Laporte.

Proceed to the traffic light, the intersection of County Road 21 and the race course, County Road 54G, and turn right. Go west through the city of Laporte. Travel about 400m and the school will be on the south side of the road (on your left). This same location can be reached directly from Fort Collins by heading north on College Avenue (this is also Highways 287 and 14). The road will turn west as it leaves Fort Collins. Stay on the road, heading west, until you reach the city of Laporte. The first traffic light you come to will be the intersection of County Road 21 and County Road 54G.

The 23-mile mark, the intersection of Taft Hill Road and the Poudre Trail:

From the city of Laporte, follow Highway 14 one mile east to its intersection with Taft Hill Road. This same intersection can be reached directly from Fort Collins by heading north on College Avenue (this is also Highways 287 and 14). The road will turn west as it leaves Fort Collins. Stay on the road, heading west, until you reach the intersection with Taft Hill Road (roughly 1.5 miles after you turn west on College Ave.)

Turn south on Taft Hill Road and continue for a little more than a mile, crossing over the Poudre River. Trail parking will be on the east side of Taft Hill Road. Please approach this trail intersection carefully as you can expect a lot of car traffic and pedestrian activity.

Near Old Town, Fort Collins, at the finish line:

The finish line will be located on Howes St. between Maple St. and Laporte Ave., adjacent to Washington Park. From the parking structure near the Half Marathon/5k bus loading area, walk west on Laporte St. one block and then a half block north on Howes St.


Yes it is. The current USATF course certification number is CO 15007DCR.


For 2019, pace groups will be provided by BEAST Pacing for the following times:

Marathon: 3:15, 3:30, 3:45, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, 5:00

Half Marathon: 1:30, 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:10, 2:20, 2:30