Marathon Competition offers a longer timeline, and an opportunity for competitors to iterate and improve their solutions against open-ended problems that have no single right answer. The TCO21 Marathon Competition is on now and the top 12 competitors will win an opportunity to compete in the TCO21 Finals!

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Marathon Competition offers a longer timeline, and an opportunity for competitors to iterate and improve their solutions against open-ended problems that have no single right answer. The TCO21 Marathon Competition is on now and the top 12 competitors will win an opportunity to compete in the TCO21 Finals!

The 2021 Topcoder Open Marathon Competition will take place in four (4) online stages.

The top three (3) performers, per the leaderboard, of each stage from the Marathon Competition, will win an opportunity to compete in the TCO21 Finals on dates to be determined at a later date.

The Marathon Competition will include all the marathon matches (unless explicitly specified that is not TCO eligible) and potentially a number of Lightning Rounds at regional events. Up to twelve (12) of the highest scoring competitors, which means three (3) from each stage will win a spot in the Tournament to compete in the virtual Championship Round. Each stage of the competition will award a spot based on the amount of points earned from that stage.

Topcoder reserves the right to add or remove competition tracks as needed. Competition stages and prizes may be changed at any time at Topcoder’s sole discretion.

The Marathon Competition is part of the Tournament, and by participating in the Marathon Competition, you agree to these rules.


There will be no registration required to compete in the Marathon Competition; however, competitors must be a Topcoder member.


Each Round of the Marathon Competition consists of two phases: the Provisional or Training Phase and the System/Final Testing Phase. (Note: The format for rounds of the Marathon Competition is similar to the format of Topcoder Marathon Matches. The rules in place for Marathon Matches as of July 1, 2020, as may be amended by these Rules, will apply to the Online and Onsite rounds of the Marathon Competition.)

The Coding Phase is a timed event where all Competitors are presented with the same problem statement. The criteria for scoring a Competitor’s submission will be provided with the problem statement and may change from round to round. During each round of the Marathon Competition, each Competitor may receive two types of scores in their Submission Artifacts: Test Case Scores of example test cases and Full Submission Score. Each Full Submission is run against a more complete set of test cases which are not disclosed to the Competitor and the Competitor only receives a provisional score.

The System/Final Testing Phase is applied to the most recent Full Submission for each Competitor. During system testing, each Full Submission is run against a large number of sample cases which are not disclosed to Competitors and is scored according to the criteria specified in the problem statement. Once the system tests are completed, Competitors are ranked according to their score on the system test cases. The score a Competitor’s Full Submission receives is determined solely by the system testing.

How to qualify

During each Stage, Contestants who participate in Tournament-eligible Marathon Match Competitions on the Topcoder website will receive points for that Stage as outlined in these Rules.

Only Tournament-eligible Marathon Competitions in which submission has opened during the four (4) Stages shall be included in determining points for that Stage. Note: that for Stage 4, matches in which submission opens during Stage 4 and ends after Stage 4 won’t be included in determining points for Stage 4.

All-Tournament – eligible Marathon Match Competitions will be clearly marked on the active challenge listing page.

Marathon Match Online Competition Stages Dates

Stage 1July 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020
Stage 2October 1, 2020 – Dec 31, 2020
Stage 3January 1, 2021 – March 31, 2021
Stage 4April 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021

Competition Scoring for Online Stages

After each Marathon Match during the stage, up to 30 of the next-highest scoring competitors [among those eligible, who have not already otherwise advanced] will be awarded points based on the following table. To get points for the round, a Competitor must achieve a score greater than zero. If several competitors are tied for a place, they share points for the tied places (i.e. if two competitors are tied for 6th place they’ll each get (40+36)/2 = 38 points).


Advancing during the Online Stages

The Competitor who accumulates the most points during each Online Stage (12 total competitors - 3 from each stage) will advance to the virtual Championship Round.

NOTE: In the event of a tie for any advancing position during the Online Stage, the tie will be resolved in the following manner:

  • Total points earned by tied competitors in any competitions in which all tied competitors entered.

  • If a tie still remains, all remaining tied Competitors will advance.

In the event that a Competitor who has advanced to the virtual Championship Round is unable to attend it, Topcoder may choose to replace this Competitor with another Competitor or to take no action in this regard (thus reducing the total number of onsite Competitors). The choice is made at Topcoder’s sole discretion. In case of replacement choice, the right to attend is passed to the next Competitor who has accumulated the most points.

Championship Round

The Championship Round will consist of a single round of competition lasting 10 hours. The winner of the Championship Round will be the Onsite Marathon Competitor with the highest point total during the Championship Round. In the event that Onsite Marathon Competitors are tied at the conclusion of the Championship Round, then the prize money will be distributed equally among the tied Onsite Marathon Competitors.

Marathon Championship Round

Marathon Competition FinalsTBD

Please note the online competition round includes 30 minute setup time.


The Marathon Competition will award cash prizes to the Onsite Marathon Competitors in accordance with the following table:

Onsite Final WinnersPrize
2nd place$1,500
3rd place$500

** Prize will be awarded at the conclusion of the Virtual Championship Round. Winner must be present at the virtual Championship announcement to receive a prize.


The Marathon Competition will also award prizes in the form of T-shirts (one per Contestant). T-shirts will be awarded to the following Contestants:

  • Top 10 places in that particular stage based on total points after each stage

To get the prize, Competitor must have positive points in that particular stage. In the event of a tie in for the 10th place, all competitors with that score will earn a t-shirt.

These rules may change at any time with or without prior notice.

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