The Detroit Free Press Marathon is returning to the streets of Detroit this weekend, October 16-17, 2021 for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether you’re running the marathon, cheering someone on or just want to be part of the action, there is a lot you need to know to have a great day.
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Important things to know about 2021
The biggest change this year is that the marathon and half marathon will not be international. With restrictions crossing the border, runners won’t be cross the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and then taking the tunnel back.
Instead, this year’s half-marathon route runs north into Midtown, New Center and to the Boston Edison District before heading back toward the city. The full marathon will take that same route and then head east, onto Belle Isle and then back.
For packet pickup at the Health and Fitness Expo, you will also have to wear masks. Click here to view maps.
How you can help…
If you’d still like to participate, you can volunteer with the marathon. You can register for volunteering by clicking here. There are positions starting on Thursday morning to help stuff goodie bags, and many positions open on Friday to help with packet pickup.
If you want to be part of the action on race day, there are different positions for packet pickup, course monitors, gear check and more.
Best places to watch…
If you’ve come to the city to cheer on friends or family, or just to support random strangers, there are several spots to do so. (Reminder, there will be many streets closed for the event).
The start/finish line is on Fort. St. between Cass Ave. and 1st St. and it’s a great place to see runners take off, and then triumphantly cross the finish line hours later. You can also catch them near the middle of the marathon back near Campus Martius.
If you head up to Midtown and New Center, they will run along 3rd Ave. and then to Cass Ave. going north. There are great places to post up and watch.
Best places for food and drinks…
Whether you’re looking to kill time during the race, or celebrate after the race, Detroit has a variety of delicious, and healthy options.
Near the start-finish line in Downtown Detroit, Anchor Bar has a variety of great food, but if you’re looking to splurge, the totchos (tater tot nachos) are the way to go.
After watching someone start the race, head over to Hudson Café for a variety of delicious brunch items. If you want to try the Cinnabunn pancakes, you won’t be disappointed, but if you want the healthier option, they have a variety of vegan and vegetarian food, and salads.
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If you’re watching in the Midtown area, Great Lakes Coffee Roasters is a spot to get a boost of caffeine and also a great sandwich.
Treat Dreams is a great spot to get unique ice cream if you have a sweet tooth after the race.
Near the northern part of the course near New Center, check out Joe Louis Southern Kitchen, right along Woodward Ave., for delicious breakfast.
If you’re looking to try something new, YumVillage offers incredible Afro-Caribbean meals, and Baobab Fare gives you a taste of East Africa.
There’s also the Detroit classic, Supino Pizza, offering full New York-style pizzas by the pie or by the slice.
The after party…
Finally, the marathon is hosting an after party from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. called “Conquered.” It takes place in the block between W. Lafayette and Fort St. and Third Ave. and the Lodge Service Dr.