Bolton Marathon and Bolton Marathon 10k Goes Virtual!

Since the new UK wide lockdown came into force in early January, it has now become clear that continued restrictions on mass gatherings, travel and ongoing uncertainty about what restrictions will be in place from 1st April 2021 means that the Bolton Marathon, 10k and Bolton at Home Family Fun Run will not take place over the weekend of 15th/16th May 2021. I have decided that we will not postpone the event to a later date as we have done in the past. We will be delivering an event, albeit different from what we wanted, whilst offering the option for people to defer their entry to 2022.

What has led us to make this decision and why now?

Whilst there are many obvious reasons why I have made this decision, I feel it is necessary to add further context around some of the pressures we face. By May 2021, we may be in a position that gatherings can take place, however, organising an event takes a lot of planning by lots of groups. The Event Industry has been in hibernation since March 2020 and is set to remain dormant until the furlough scheme ends at the end of April. That gives us 2 weeks to do everything we need to make the event happen.

I waited a few weeks to make my own assessment of whether the situation may improve and these timings move forward, with the industry “reopening” anytime sooner, but my feeling is that, if anything, the industry may take a lot longer to get back to normal potentially putting Autumn events in jeopardy. This is one of the reasons why I’ve decided not to move the race to the autumn, but there are also many events already planned for the autumn relying on a stretched supply chain meaning I cannot guarantee the availability of contractors due to so many events clashing.

From day one, the support this event has received has been amazing and whilst I understand that there are far more serious issues facing society as a whole, events are a key part of our lives providing motivation to exercise the mind and body as well as social interaction and a platform to make amazing memories. They may not be delivered in a way that you are used to right now but we will continue to adapt to ensure that we can provide an event that does all of the above in these difficult times.

Good luck with your training for a #propervirtualmarathon or 10k!


Race Director

So what’s happening…

As a result of the reasons outlined, the single day event cannot take place. However, with the drive and dedication of our running community and our ambition to deliver the first Bolton Marathon since 1987, we have put together the following plan.

  1. Go Virtual

The Bolton Marathon and Bolton Marathon 10k will GO VIRTUAL but it will not be a “normal” virtual event. Runners will have to work for their medal and t-shirt by taking on the actual course(s).

This is slightly different to a usual event that goes virtual. Ordinarily, that involves runners running the distance of the race wherever, submitting their finishing time and then receiving a medal/t-shirt in the post.

We want to offer something in between a “do anywhere” virtual race and the full race experience by providing something that is as close to the “real thing” as possible. You cannot claim to run a #propermarathon if you have not run a #propermarathon course! There are over 1300 runners planning to take on the course in May so we want to give you that opportunity!

All runners will automatically be entered into this option, unless they tell us otherwise.

The virtual Bolton Marathon and 10k will be as follows:

  1. All runners will automatically go virtual unless they tell us otherwise
  2. To complete the virtual Bolton Marathon/10k, you MUST run the actual course – not your own route choice!
  3. We ‘open’ the course on 1st May and you have until 31st July to complete their distance (marathon or 10k). The full course is available on our website We are working with the local authority to erect temporary direction signage/mile markers along the course.
  4. You submit your finish time and GPS (you must complete the correct course) by email to and then you will receive an official finisher time along with medal and t-shirt in the post.
  5. We would love to see you complete the course in one go, but we understand that has certain logistic issues around nutrition, water, toilets etc plus many of you will have been unable to train due to added pressures of home schooling, work etc… and taking on a #propermarathon in one go at the moment is tough. Therefore, you will be able to complete the route in up to 4 separate sections of your choice providing the whole route is completed. If you choose to do this, you simply submit evidence of all your runs in one email to
  6. Whilst we want you to run on a date that suits you, we want you to avoid running on 16th This is the obvious day for most people to run the course but that may also lead to larger groups – something everyone has been trying to avoid for the last 12 months! Instead, why not do something non running related, save the date for next year when we can run together and have a day off running and make time to spend it with friends and family (restrictions permitted).
  7. By choosing to run the virtual event, you will receive an exclusive entry price for the 2022 event – £45 for marathon, £20 for 10k. Your discount code will be sent via email by 30st July 2021, to be redeemed by 31st August 2021.
  8. If you are unable to travel to Bolton because of travel restrictions (overseas runners or those in higher tiers), you will be allowed to complete the run “at home” but are encouraged to make it hard – after all the Bolton Marathon & 10k is not a flat route!


  1. Deferral to 2022

We know virtual events are not for everyone and if who do not wish to Go Virtual all you need to do is notify us by email at with your full name from the email address you used to sign up by 30th April and we will allocate you a place at the 2022 event free of charge. You will not need to do anything else except confirm that the details we have on our system are correct – given the length of time taken between their original registration (potentially as early as October 2019) to the event taking place in 2022. You can do this by logging into your Active Network account at

  1. Transfer to another runner

This option has been available to you continuously, free of charge, since the event was originally postponed back in May 2020 and will continue to be available free of charge for all runners until 30th April 2021. If you wish to transfer to another runner, simply follow these instructions…

  1. Deadlines

All existing entrants must be allocated to either ‘Go Virtual’, deferral to 2022 or have transferred their place to another runner by 30th April 2021. No more changes will be made after this date.

  1. When will the Bolton Marathon and 10k 2021 be completed?

By 31st July 2021, the organisers will have deemed the 2021 Bolton Marathon and 10k complete. All 2021 finishers can enter the 2022 race using their exclusive discount by entering the 2022 race before 31st August 2021. All entries after this date will be at the standard entry price at that time.

  1. Will new entries be accepted for the Virtual event?

We would love to see new runners take on the challenge of the Bolton Marathon or 10k. New entries will continue to be accepted until 30th April 2021 to accommodate anyone who wants to take part in the first Bolton Marathon since 1987. You will also receive the exclusive entry price for 2022 event. To enter, simply go to our website

  1. What’s happening with the BMTTC?

To give as many people as possible a chance to take part in the Bolton Marathon experience, we have extended the finish of the Bolton Marathon Twin Towns Challenge to 30th September 2021 to give all runners a goal and to encourage as many people as possible to keep active both individually but also as a team. To enter, go to

  1. What is happening to the Family Fun Run?

For the Bolton at Home Family Fun Run, we will seek further consultation with Bolton at Home as to how they would like to proceed – virtual or wait for 2022. Entries had not yet opened for this event.

The whole Bolton Marathon team, sponsors, partners and stakeholders want to thank everyone for their continued support. We hope to welcome everyone in person to a #propermarathon in 2022 and to continue to offer some great challenges to keep the running community fit and active during the months ahead.