Detroit marathon returns to city after in-person race canceled in 2020

Participants came from different parts of country

Thousands of athletes were finally back together in Detroit after running in their own neighborhoods during last year’s virtual race.

DETROIT – The Detroit Free Press Marathon was back on the streets of Detroit Sunday morning.

In a typical year, 26,000 runners cross the finish line. Last year about 4,000 participated virtually. This weekend 14,000 runners made their way through the Motor City.

Thousands of athletes were finally back together in Detroit after running in their own neighborhoods during last year’s virtual race.

“They’re excited to be back on the streets, Boston and Chicago just happened. We’re lucky to be in Detroit,” said Kelly Murdock, a Grosse Ile runner.

Mike Radecki and his wife travelled from Indiana.

“This is the first time she ran this one, she turned 65 and is still running,” said Michael Solt, a Royal Oak runner.

The 44th annual Detroit Free Press Marathon went without one of its biggest draws -- crossing back and forth through Canada. It’s only the third time in its history the route has solely been in Detroit.

“It was nice a thing to run in parts of Detroit that I hadn’t run before. I did the international half two years ago but this was a different venue so it was great,” said Kelly Murdock, Grosse Ile runner.

Solt added, ”It was unique to run the Detroit side miss the bridge and tunnel but awesome being back.”

He has been training since July and beat last years time.

“You challenge yourself, try to beat yourself, gives you something to shoot for,” said Solt.

It was a brisk start Sunday with temperatures hovering in the upper 40s but safe to say after the last year and a half nothing was stopping them from pounding the pavement together.

“Definitely less crowded because of the pandemic, weather and crowd, great lots of supporters which was nice,” said Murdock.

Barbara Bennage is the executive race director and said just to see the runners cross the start line and watch them finish was awesome.

This was a big step toward normalcy. With land borders set to open next month organizers say they’re already looking ahead to next year and hope to have the international portion of the marathon back as well.

Related: Detroit marathon expected to cause traffic delays for Lions fans attending game at Ford Field on Sunday


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.