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Sunburst Races canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic

The 2020 Sunburst Races, scheduled to take place August 8 in South Bend, have been canceled out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of participants and the community during the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

“While we realize how disappointing this is to everyone involved in Sunburst Races, the safety of our runners, walkers, volunteers, staff and spectators has always been our top priority,” said Race Director Courtney Kipker. “After evaluating all aspects of the race, we determined this would be the best way to protect the health of those running or cheering on our participants, and put the safety of the community first.”

This is the first time Sunburst Races, presented by KeyBank, have been canceled since the races started in 1984. The event, which is run by Beacon Health System, typically draws several thousand runners from across the country and hundreds of community volunteers to help out on race day.

Sunburst Races were initially scheduled for June 6, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted organizers to postpone the event until August, and to move the start and finish line to Four Winds Field, home of the South Bend Cubs, after the University of Notre Dame canceled its commencement events on campus.

Beacon has identified four options for participants registered for this year’s event: Participate in the Sunburst Races “virtual experience,” defer registration to the next running of the Sunburst Races, donate registration to Beacon Children’s Hospital, or receive a refund. More information can be found at

Sunburst Races organizers hope many registered participants – runners and walkers – will complete the miles at home and post their accomplishments on social media.

Proceeds of the Sunburst Races support the Child Life and Creative Services Program at Beacon Children’s Hospital. This program helps kids be kids, even in the toughest circumstances, by providing them developmental, social and emotional support.

“We know our participants have been training so hard, and we want to celebrate their successes, even if we are not able to in-person this year with the global pandemic,” Kipker said. “But the Sunburst Races, and others that have been canceled across the country, will be back and we will all be better and stronger than ever before.”