Covid Update

Updated 2nd December 2021

The Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival has received a direction from the Victorian Government Department of Health that all registered runners, spectators, staff, and volunteers aged 12 years, 2 months and over will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in the 2021 Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival.

Watch our Explainer Video to ensure yourself the smoothest possible Race Day experience. 

The health and safety of our participants, spectators, volunteers, team members and the broader community remains our top priority and we continue to work closely with the Department of Health and our event stakeholders on the delivery of our COVIDSafe Event Plan.

The millions of Victorians who have rolled up their sleeves and helped our state reach vaccination milestones have played an important part in the easing of restrictions and the return of live events and we thank our Melbourne Marathon community for their contribution.


Are vaccinations mandatory?

The Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival has received a direction from the Victorian Government Department of Health that all registered runners, spectators, staff, and volunteers aged 12 years 2 months and over will be required to be fully vaccinated to participate in the 2021 Event.

How do I verify my vaccination status?

You will be required to show proof of vaccination status or a medical exemption when you arrive on site. You can use your phone or bring printed proof. There will be check in points near the MCG, Yarra Park and the Start Line.

Once verified you will receive a wristband which will allow you to freely move into the start chutes and complete your event. Marshals will be spotting wristbands along the course and visual spotting will occur at the entry to the MCG finish line also – so do not remove your wristband until well after the race and you have exited the MCG.


  • COVID-19 digital certificate using the Service Victoria app 
  • COVID-19 digital certificate in a smart phone wallet


  • COVID-19 digital certificate or immunisation history statement 
  • Australian Immunisation Register certificate 

An exempt person must provide an immunisation history statement obtained from the Australian Immunisation Register as proof of their exemption this can be obtained through a medical practitioner.

N.B Applies to those aged 12 years and 2 months or older.

What COVIDSafe measures will there be?

There will be a number of measures in place to provide a COVIDSafe environment for our community including the requirement that all registered runners, spectators, staff, and volunteers aged 12 years 2 months and over are fully vaccinated to participate in the 2021 Event.

The event has been split over two days with the SriLankan Airlines10km Run, 5km Run and 3km Walk taking place on the Saturday afternoon and the Nike Melbourne Marathon and Nike Half Marathon on the Sunday morning to allow for more social distancing. Additional measures include additional contact tracing capabilities for participants and spectators, rolling start waves and overflow areas for the start and finish lines to allow participants to socially distance, additional cleaning and sanitising of high-touch areas and hand sanitisation stations throughout the event sites.

Dedicated COVID19 Safety resources are in place to plan, implement and monitor these measures and address any new COVID Safety challenges that may occur during the event. In addition, there will be regular communication across all digital channels in the lead up to the event, and clear signage, PA system announcements and additional support from event staff and volunteers at the event.

Can I collect my wristband in advance?

Wristbands will only be issued to participants upon presentation of your COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate or Medical Exemption. You can use your phone or bring printed proof. Only one wristband will be issued per person, you will not be able to collect on someone else’s behalf.

There will be multiple check in points located near the MCG, Yarra Park and the Start Line available before the start of each race, we recommend you arrive early with plenty of time to collect your wristband. If you are participating in the Nike Marathon, Nike Wheelchair Marathon or Nike Half Marathon you will be able to collect your wristband on Saturday from one of the check in points if you show your race bib.

Vaccination Check In Locations will operate from 12:00pm until 6:00pm on Saturday 11 December and from 4:15am until 7:00am on Sunday 12 December.

How will my event experience change?

There are some changes to this year’s Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival which is now scheduled to be held 11 -12 December, 2021. On Saturday 11 December, the SriLankan Airlines 10km Run, 5km Run and 3km Walk will start in the afternoon from a new start line location, and the courses have been updated. On Sunday 12 December, the Nike Melbourne Marathon, Wheelchair Marathon and Nike Half Marathon will start an hour earlier to accommodate potentially hotter temperatures. All race participants across all distances will finish inside the MCG.

There will be some impacts to the overall festival experience with the Race Week Expo and Team Village unable to proceed this year due to availability and access to the venue prior to race day and COVIDSafe measures to reduce congestion.

The Race Week office will operate from the hours and locations below for event transfers and issuing of replacement bibs, all other race bibs will be distributed via post in advance of the Event. 3km participants will receive a digital, print at home Race Bib.

Location 1: On the concourse outside Gate 3 of the MCG

Opening Hours:
Monday 6 December 9:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday 7 December 9:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday 8 December 9:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday 9 December 9:00am – 5:00pm
Friday 10 December 6:30am – 11:00am

Location 2: On the concourse between Gate 1 and 2 of the MCG

Opening Hours:
Saturday 11 December 9:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday 12 December 4:00am – 1:30pm

Sunday Race Week Office is open for general enquiries only, all bib replacements and event changes must be done prior to Sunday 12 Dec.

The Official Merchandise Store will operate on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 December 2021 for new purchases, collection of orders and exchanges.

Friends and family are invited to cheer you on as you cross the finish line. Free entry into the MCG will be available for fully vaccinated spectators on Saturday from 2:30pm and Sunday from 7:00am.

The COVIDSafe measures we are implementing, such as vaccination requirements, hygiene stations, social distancing, check-in and contact tracing, are commonplace for Victorians. The Event is held outdoors and already designed to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience with ample space for all participants and spectators. We ask all participants to follow the health and safety advice in the lead up to and during the Event and seek the support of our Event staff if they have concerns.

Any changes will be communicated via email and social media in the lead up to the Event, so please be sure to monitor these channels regularly.

Are there cancellation fees if I withdraw? Will I receive a refund if I withdraw for personal reasons?

Should you withdraw after 12.00am Friday 1 October for any reason (including, but not limited to, medical reasons), there is no refund of any portion of the entry fee, subject to applicable laws. Covid exceptions apply.

What Covid exceptions are there for a Refund/Withdrawal?

There are circumstances where a registered participant may not be able to attend the Event due to a direct impact of COVID-19. They will be required to complete a COVID-19 Withdrawal Application Form and provide the necessary documentation which will allow them to rollover their registration to the 2022 Event or receive a refund of their Event entry fee. These circumstances include: participants who develop COVID-19 related symptoms in the lead up to the Event and can provide a positive test result; or are identified as a close contact of a person who has received a positive COVID-19 test result, and have been directed to quarantine (stay at home) on the Event date; or are prevented from travelling to the Event on the Event date because of intrastate, interstate or international travel restrictions.

Why is the event in December? Won’t it be too hot?

We all know Melbourne weather is notoriously unpredictable! The temperature may be hotter in December than October and we encourage all participants to plan accordingly with hydration and appropriate sun protection. The health and safety of our participants is a top priority with First Aid support available on course and at the MCG finish line. The new event date has been selected in conjunction with numerous stakeholders including the City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip, the MCC, Victorian Police, Public Transport Victoria, Vic Roads and takes into account other events and activity planned for later in 2021. The start times of the events have been adjusted to accommodate many factors to enable the event to proceed.

Will drink stations be available?

Drink stations will still be available at designated locations on the course. They have been designed to encourage continual flow of participants to enable a smooth drink collection system, while minimising potential crowding. Staff and volunteers manning the drink stations will be given additional COVID safety training. Participants are also encouraged and welcome to use their own hydration packs throughout the event.

Will I be required to wear a mask?

The requirements for masks will be in line with the Victorian health advice at the time of the event. We will be monitoring this closely and will provide updates where necessary. For more information and guidelines on mask wearing, please visit:

Will the Finish Line still be at the MCG?

Yes, all event distances will finish inside the MCG.

Will the courses be the same?

On Saturday 11 December, the SriLankan Airlines 10km Run, 5km Run and 3km Walk will start in the afternoon from a new start line location and there are updates to the courses. At this stage, there are no changes to the course for the Nike Melbourne Marathon and Nike Half Marathon distances on the Sunday. Course Maps can be found HERE.

What days and times will each event commence?

Saturday 11 December

  • SriLankan Airlines 10km Run Start Time 3.00pm
  • 5km Run Start Time 5.00pm
  • 3 km Walk Start Time 6.00pm

Sunday 12 December

  • Nike Melbourne Marathon Start Time 6.00am
  • Nike Wheelchair Marathon Start Time 6.55am
  • Nike Half Marathon Start Time 7.00am

What will happen at the start line?

The Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival start, and finish lines have been designed to allow adequate space for all participants to socially distance. Each participant has a timing chip in their race bib (except the 3km walk which is a non-timed event) that is not triggered until they cross the timing mats at the start line and finishing times are submitted when they cross the final timing mat at the finish line. Whilst the extra space may mean some participants start further back or take a little longer to start the event, their official race times (net time) will not be affected.

If the event is cancelled, what happens to my registration?

In the event of a cancellation, and you hold a live and current registration you will be provided with a number of options at the time of this occurring, including transferring to the 2022 event or receiving a refund of your event entry fee.

For any additional questions please review our full FAQ’s here.


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