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South Carolina is the latest state to specify recreation is among "Essential Activities" permitted during a shelter-in-place order.


According to the governor's executive order, South Carolinians are permitted to engage "in outdoor exercise or recreational activities, provided that a minimum distance of six (6) feet is maintained during such activities between all persons who are not occupants of the same Residence."


Some jurisdictions that adopted shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders this month have singled out running as essential or permitted.


In Washington, D.C., "Allowable Recreational Activities" include: "Walking, hiking, running, dog-walking, biking, rollerblading, scootering, skateboarding, playing tennis, golfing, gardening, and other activities where all participants comply with Social Distancing Requirements and there is no person-to-person contact.





First came word the Boston Marathon would be rescheduled for the first time in its history. Then, on April Fools' Day, came word the Boston Athletic Association will refund entry fees from runners who cannot run the race on the second Monday of September.


All the previous runnings have been on the third Monday in April, Patriot's Day in Massachusetts. There have been 123 such races.


The B.A.A.'s policy is atypical. More often, when races are canceled, the organizers exercise their contractual rights to keep the money, typically on the justification the race already has spent the money. Contractual clauses such as no-refund policies are generally legally enforceable.


The Boston Marathon is in a different position that nearly all other races because it will have no problem filling the corrals on September 14 (if, in fact, the race is run that day). It is virtually assured of recouping whatever entry fees it refunds.

Still, the gesture, while appreciated, has to affect the B.A.A.'s bottom line going forward.


On a personal note, I am slated to run the 2020 Boston Marathon and have no interest in a refund.



Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota has canceled the June event for the first time in its history. The marathon is a top Boston Marathon qualifying race.


Consistent with the language in the race-registration contract, there are no refunds. But the race is offering a 20% discount on registration for the 2021 race.


As I explain in my book The Law of Running: A Runner's Guide to Legal Rights:

Can we get our money back?

Under a strict reading and application of contract law, the answer was and is no. That being said, in the spirit of our sport, many races tried to help as much as they could during the unprecedented pandemic.