Here’s the bad news for New Mexico’s running community: There will be no Duke City Marathon in 2020.
The good news: A safer world willing and the Rio Grande don’t rise, there will be two DCMs in 2021.
The 2020 Big 5 Duke City Marathon has been postponed until March 28 due to COVID-19 concerns, event officials have announced. The DCM had been scheduled for its 37th running on Oct. 18.
The March event is to be followed by another Duke City Marathon the following Oct. 17.
“Our goal has always been to put on a top-quality race in a safe environment,” DCM co-founder and race director Tico Navarro said in a statement. “We will be able to now do that twice in 2021.”
Every effort was made by the DCM board, a spokesman told the Journal, to stage the event as scheduled on Oct. 18. Social-distancing plans – staggered starts, more time between the various races, etc. – were made toward that end in cooperation with the City of Albuquerque.
Ultimately, there was no guarantee that an event involving that many people could be safely conducted.
Each of the past several years, the DCM’s seven events – marathon, marathon relay, half-marathon, 10K run, 10K walk, 5K run, 5K walk – have drawn a total of some 5,000 participants. When race volunteers, spectators, et al, are added, a spokesman said, that total nearly doubles.
Navarro said he’s pleased that the DCM will not suffer the fate of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and the New Mexico State Fair, both canceled outright.
“We are grateful for our partnership with the City of Albuquerque, which worked with us to postpone the race, as opposed to cancel the entire weekend,” he said.
The Duke City Marathon is not merely a community event, nor merely a state-wide event. On the average, a spokesman said, almost 700 participants come from out of state – paying entry fees, staying in hotels, eating restaurant meals and otherwise contributing to the local economy.
Navarro and his wife and co-founder, Marge, staged their first DCM in 1984. They remain deeply involved – Tico as race director, Marge as a member of the board.
The marathon course has varied over the years, but always has started and finished at Civic Plaza. The current course makes extensive use of the Paseo Del Bosque Trail, which runs north and south along the Rio Grande.
The DCM’s prime beneficiary is the Boys & Girls Club of Central New Mexico.