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Everything you need to know about the 2019 Detroit Marathon

The international race takes place this Sunday, October 20

The marathon and international half go over the Ambassador Bridge.
Photo by Michelle and Chris Gerard

The Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon takes to the streets—and the bridge and the tunnel—Sunday, October 21 this year. The international race now in its 42nd year will shut down much of downtown and the surrounding areas that morning, so be prepared even if you’re not running. Other race activities will take place around Detroit all weekend.

Here’s everything you need to know.

When and where

Runners can register online for the marathon through midnight on October 14 and in person at the Health and Fitness Expo in the TCF Center (formerly Cobo Center). That’s also where participants can pick up their race packets.

The weekend starts on October 19 with some shorter races near the East Riverfront, including a competitive one-mile (9:00 a.m.), 5K (9:30 a.m.), and kids fun run (10:30 a.m.).

The International full and half-marathon start and end early Sunday morning downtown. A “conquered” afterparty for family and friends takes place at a surface parking lot at Fort and Third streets. There will be live entertainment, food trucks, and prizes.

Expect the area around TCF Center to be crowded all weekend. Parking will likely be a challenge, but you can easily get there by public transit: the bus, QLine, and People Mover all have stops at or near the convention hall. See our public transit guide for more info.


The marathon starts and ends at West Fort Street and Cass Avenue at 7 a.m. The international route goes over the Ambassador Bridge, through Windsor, and into the tunnel. Races also go through Indian Village and Belle Isle before heading back downtown along the Riverwalk.

A map of the marathon route as it winds through Detroit and into Canada.
The full marathon route.
Via Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon

The U.S.-only half marathon starts at 10:30 a.m. near the intersection of Cadillac Square and Bates Street, goes through the eastern portion of the race, then ends at Fort and Third.

Parking and street closures

Much of downtown and Corktown will have street closures on Sunday, including parts of Cadillac Square, Washington, Larned, Michigan, Shelby, Lafayette, Congress, Griswold, Cass, Fort, and more. In other words, it’s best to avoid driving altogether in that area if possible.

Other major closures include:

  • The Lodge at the I-75 interchange starting at 3 a.m.
  • The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel from 6:45-10 a.m.

Plus, the Ambassador Bridge will allow only limited traffic from 5:45-9 a.m.

SpotHero can help those heading down to the race find and reserve parking that morning. City and municipal lots and garages will also be open, but streets start closing downtown at about 4 a.m. Olympia’s lots are also an option for visitors. The People Mover will also be open.

For those coming from Canada, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel bus will also be running that morning. It will depart from Windsor at 5:30 and 5:45 a.m., with a drop off at Cobo.


As of now, Sunday’s forecast is mostly sunny with a high of 65 degrees—perfect weather for running.