What seems like years ago, the Siuslaw Dunes 50k and 25k was held on March 7, 2020. The Coronavirus was just starting to break out, but no one, including me, really took it seriously. This was just another virus from another part of the world that would not affect us in the Pacific Northwest. We were given instructions to wear gloves and try to keep the aid station as sanitary as possible, but nothing extraordinary.
Then a few days later, the NBA canceled its games indefinitely. Every other sports league followed suit. Locked downs ensued and our world had changed. Race directors took their cues and started postponing events happening the rest of March and April, with no idea what would follow.
We are now heading into August; some races are starting to resume. Places like Alaska and Idaho have been able to continue races. British Columbia has opened in some spots again. Oregon and Washington remain on lockdown with a few exceptions apart from some rural locations.
Does this mean we are safe from getting COVID-19 when participating in the races that are now open? Remember, most competitors come from urban areas, where outbreaks continue to set records. So how are race directors keeping safe?
Here are how some races have handled keeping runners, volunteers, and spectators protected during this pandemic:
Strawberry Fields Forever is a loop course recently run in the Columbia River Gorge featuring distances from 10k to 100 miles. Participants were able to set up their own aid stations around the start/finish area of the loop. Volunteers wore masks, but runners were not required to.
The Beaverhead 100k in Salmon, ID Covid-19 guidelines required all runners to have their temperature checked and to wear masks when during check-in. All runners maintained a 6-foot separation at the pre-race meeting. During the shuttle to the start, all runners wore masks, used hand sanitizer, and talking was asked to be limited. At the start, everyone wore a mask, including visitors. Masks were worn in the race until a six-foot gap between runners. During a pass, runners were asked to communicate with each other so they could step off the trail or pull the mask on. When entering aid stations, all runners were asked to use hand sanitizer (shouldn’t that be a requirement pre and post COVID?) and wear face masks. Volunteers supplied water and tailwind. Food was placed on plates for self-serve. Crews were not allowed in the aid stations but could be near, as long as face masks were worn, and social distancing was observed. Social distancing and masks were also required at the finish.
At the check-in Dirty Feet Sunset Trail Run in Kamloops, BC; participants also used hand sanitizer, masks, and kept a social distance. Runners started in 4 person waves at five-minute intervals. No aid stations were set up for the 5k and 10k runs. Runners were asked not to bring spectators and move away from the finish line at the completion of the race. Dirty Feet’s Phil Hiom exclaimed “The race went great. Everyone was happy safe and felt comfortable with the safety measures we have in place. We have now had two races, and both have happened without any hiccups or issues. It is a slow return to racing, but it is a RETURN TO RACING!”
Alpine Running will be holding the Elkhorn Crest this Saturday and released a video about how they will handle the start and finish, along with the aid stations. It is very similar to the Beaverhead aid stations, however, runners will order from a menu and be served from aid station volunteers. Runners must sign a waiver with the COVID-19 requirements and will be disqualified if the requirements are not adhered to.
Deschutes County has moved to phase 2, so Lay It Out Events has been cleared to hold the Haulin’ Aspen Marathon, Half Marathon, and 6.5 mile run. All runners and staff/volunteers are required to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines at packet pick-up. Runners will start in small groups (four waves per race) to allow ample room on the trail. The race is chip timed, making social distancing easy at the start. Like other events, runners are required to wear a mask at the start and finish lines of the race but may remove the mask when running. Volunteers will wear masks and gloves. Post-race food/beverages will be packaged and in cans for sanitation reasons. Awards will be recognized online only.
Rogue Valley Trail Runners still plan on holding the Pine to Palm 100 mile race. Jackson and Josephine Counties have also moved to phase 2, which means the event will be limited to 100 runners. No details yet on restrictions. Post Edit Note: The Pine to Palm has now been canceled
What about some other race directors?
Go Beyond Racing has canceled almost all races, postponing a few to the fall, and moving some races to virtual.
Rainshadow Racing has stated all races will be canceled except Secret Beach 100k/50m in October and Deception Pass 25k in December. There will not be a Deception Pass 50k option.
Daybreak Racing is still hoping to hold another event this year with the Cloud Cap race in late September.
Five Peaks have converted their races to virtual.
Coast Mountain Trail Running has canceled all events but is hosting a virtual summer scavenger hunt.
Destination Trail has canceled all events except for Bellingham, Tahoe, and Moab races held in the fall.
Northwest Trail Runs has postponed or canceled all 2020 races but is hoping to have some events soon. Registration is open with a 100% race transfer guarantee.
Evergreen Trail Runs next event is the Fidalgo Trail Run in October. They have implemented Coronavirus precautions similar to other races where only volunteers will touch food and water.
Level 32 will have its Ridgeline Ramble this weekend in Eugene. The only precaution stated on its website is that runners will have a staggered start and will wear masks on the shuttle.
Oregon Trail Runs has canceled or postponed events until October.
Pace Trail Series has postponed events until October. Pace has also turned Broken Goat to a virtual race.
Running Club North has converted races to virtual or canceled events until September. They are still having group runs, however.
Seattle Running Club has canceled the Cougar Mountain Trail series but hoping to hold the Cougar Mountain Trail Run in October.
The Hagg Lake Half Marathon from Why Racing on August 29 will be turned virtual if restrictions are not lifted by then.
Bivouac Racing has canceled the first half of its PNW State Park Trail Series but is eager to host the next two events starting in October.
Wonderland Running just canceled it’s inaugural 100-mile race: The Dark Divide. Coyote Wall is still scheduled