Public Health Issues Guidance Related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) for Participants and Spectators of the 2020 LA Marathon

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) issued guidance for participants and spectators of the 2020 Los Angeles Marathon in an effort to inform the public about protecting themselves against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We are not currently recommending the suspension of any large public events, including the LA Marathon,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “The public can continue to enjoy all that LA County has to offer, including this historic event. However, we do want people to take enhanced measures to protect themselves from the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19; this includes staying home if you are sick and frequently washing your hands,” she added.

"We are actively monitoring the situation and communicating directly with participants via social channels, email and our website to update them as we learn more,” said Murphy Reinschreiber, Chief Operating Officer of the McCourt Foundation, which organizes the event. “For runners traveling from impacted countries, we are offering a deferral program that will allow them to participate in next year’s race. We continue to follow the guidance of local, state and federal authorities to implement necessary plans and protocols for the marathon. Runner safety is paramount and will continue to be our top priority."

Public Health offers the following guidance to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses at the LA Marathon:


Public Health recommends that spectators who are sick with even mild illness remain at home. Those planning to attend should engage in social distancing – a term used to stop or slow the spread of a contagious disease – and keep a distance of at least 6 feet between you and another person who is not your family member or friend. Please do not share food or water bottles, avoid shaking hands, and frequently wash hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, particularly before eating, after using the restroom and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.


For runners planning to participate in the marathon, if you feel sick even with mild illness on the day of the marathon, please do not participate. The recommendations are that you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer prior to the start of the race, and do not shake hands with other participants or the public along the course. Please do not share water or food with other runners and frequently use hand sanitizer provided to you along the course.

Public Health is working closely with the organizers of the 2020 Los Angeles Marathon and the Keck School of Medicine to ensure that runners and spectators are able to enjoy this annual event while taking appropriate precautions to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses. We are grateful for their support and urge all participants at this event to practice good public health hygiene: stay home if sick, wash hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol frequently and avoid unnecessary close contact with strangers.

Always check with trusted sources for the latest, accurate information about novel coronavirus:

• Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

• California Department of Public Health

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

• World Health Organization

• LA County residents can also call 2-1-1


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