Race to Operate at 50% Capacity with Health and Safety Guidelines in Place for Participants and Limited Spectators


On April 29, 2021, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the Buffalo Marathon will return this year on June 26 and 27 for its twentieth anniversary. The race will operate at roughly 50 percent of its typical capacity with additional health and safety protocols for participants, event staff, and volunteers. The Governor also announced that, using the Buffalo Marathon model, the State’s sports and recreation guidance will be updated with health protocols for running races to help localities plan and permit these events.


“With warmer weather upon us, we are continuing to reopen our state and bringing back many iconic outdoor activities with health and safety measures in place, and this year the Buffalo Marathon will be making a comeback for its twentieth anniversary,” Governor Cuomo said. “For years, the Buffalo Marathon has marked the start of this region’s summer festivities, and this year, events like this one that carry the spirit of community and perseverance have special significance for all New Yorkers who have made sacrifices for one another through the pandemic.”


This year, the marathon will accommodate approximately 3,600 participants, down from the typical 8,000, and the event will be broken into four races:


·      one 5k on June 26


·      two half marathons, each on June 27


·      one marathon on June 27


Each race will be broken into cohorts of 200 runners — aligning with the State’s current outdoor social gathering limit — that will be assigned an arrival time, start time, and socially distanced starting location with waiting area. Individual runners will be staggered by speed, starting apart and distanced, and groups of runners will be staggered, starting minutes apart.


Social distancing of 6 feet will be required at all times, including before and after the race, except for members of the same household/family. Masks will be required at all times for event staff and volunteers, and runners will wear masks before and after the race, as well as when distancing may be most difficult during the race. Health screening will be in effect for all event staff, volunteers, and runners. Spectators will not be allowed at start or finish lines, as those areas will be controlled access for event staff, volunteers, and runners.


In-person awards ceremonies and recognition of results will not be held this year. All results will be provided virtually. Food and beverages will adhere to applicable State guidance.


Buffalo Marathon Executive Director Greg Weber said, “I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership through the course of this pandemic and for working hard to reopen our state safely and responsibly. The Buffalo Marathon has been our big summer kick-off tradition for two decades now, and thanks to the Governor’s careful management and science-based decision making and the work of our dedicated county and city leaders, we now have the opportunity to celebrate the marathon’s twentieth anniversary as a community.”


The Governor recently announced that spectator capacity at large-scale outdoor event venues, including professional and collegiate sports and live performing arts and entertainment, will increase from 20 to 33 percent beginning May 19. This increase will coincide with the previously announced increase in large-scale indoor event venue capacity. Social distancing, masks, health screenings and all other State health and safety protocols remain in effect.


About the Buffalo-Erie Marathon Association Inc.


A 501(c)(3) organization, the Buffalo-Erie Marathon Association Inc.  (buffalomarathon.org) organizes and presents the annual Memorial Day Weekend, which includes a 5k, Diaper Dash, Kids Mini Marathon, Ruffalo Stampede dog race, along with full and half marathons. The companion Kaleida Heart to Heart Relay benefits the cardiac care units at Buffalo General Hospital and Gates Vascular Institute. The events combined include 8,000+ runners from more than 10 countries and 45 states. The weekend is supported by more than 1,500 volunteers from 40+ not-for-profit organizations who, over the event’s 19 years, have received grants totaling more than $664,000. The event has an estimated annual economic impact of more than $1,500,000.