Email sent 3/16/2020. For our Race Directors who may have missed our newsletter or those that are unsubscribed. As of 3/22 some of these recommendations have changed and will continue to change as the virus escalates and is suppressed.
It is certainly an unusual start to the beginning of the race season and as race directors and timers we are feeling the effects of COVID-19 with events cancelling and postponing. For events between now and May 10th, we are hoping that if you can’t keep your current race date, you will consider postponing instead outright cancelling. We are in this together.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the “nation’s leading expert of infectious diseases” and advisor to six different White House administrations, mentioned up to 8 weeks of altered lifestyle. Additionally, the CDC recommendation of postponing events consisting of 50 or more people for the 8 next weeks was released in order to help suppress the transmission of COVID-19. The 8 weeks recommendation affects races through May 10th. Of course news and guidelines are changing daily but the current CDC recommendations are below:
“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.”
“Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
“Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.”
“This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.”
After reviewing the CDC guidelines more closely, we optimistically interpreted that some events may still may be able to occur if rates of transmission in the community are “minimal to moderate” and if events take precautions to limit the spread of transmission.
“At a minimal-to-moderate level of community transmission, it is recommended to: Cancel community-wide mass gatherings (for example, >250 people; the cutoff threshold is at the discretion of community leadership based on the current circumstances the community is facing and the nature of the event) or move to smaller groupings.” For more guidelines on how to proceed with a mass gathering please refer to the section titled: Steps to Plan, Prepare, and Proceed with a Mass Gathering.”
We recommend obtaining clarity on these recommendations from your local health department as each community and event is unique.
Steps Competitive Timing Can Take to Limit Transmission
Whether your event falls within the 8 week timespan or outside of that timespan, know Competitive Timing can easily take steps to help limit transmission and improve hygiene at your event:
-We can suspend our results kiosk at our timing tent and highlight results and result notifications through our Competitive Timing App, and website, as well as setup free text messaging result notifications
-We can help provide address labels for awards to be mailed to your award winners.
-We can easily adapt and host your packet pickup outside and load the checkin apps on your volunteers personal mobile devices instead of our shared tablets.
-We can also embrace chip starts and allow a wider start window to help limit the density of runners at the starting line.
-We suggest promoting healthy hygiene practices such as the WHO’s “The Five”: washing hands often, cough into elbow, avoid touching face, staying 3ft apart, and staying home when sick.
-And of course we recommend those in vulnerable populations, those that feel unwell, and those that have routine contact with those in vulnerable populations not attend events whether the event is within or out of the 8 week window.
What We Recommend with Your Event Moving Forward
We ultimately recommend that our Race Directors take a breath and a couple weeks to consider your options (people are anxious, recommendations will change, and maybe even for the better sooner than we think). Consult with your local public health officials such as County Health Departments for more clarity on the matter and explore if it is possible to continue with your event. Please keep us in the discussion on what you are deciding.
Cancellations and Rescheduling Policy
We ask our events to send us a deposit to secure the timing and date for their event. If you have to reschedule your race to another date in 2020, we will automatically transfer that deposit to that date. As you can imagine there are many events throughout the year and picking a new date without other event conflicts can be challenging. Generally speaking, the last two weekends of May, Sundays in June, July and August, and any weekend in November and December would be easy dates to reschedule your events. Some small local events may even find success considering a Friday evening race or even a mid-weeknight race when daylight is longer in the summer. We routinely time fun weeknight community events during the summer.
If you have a specific date in mind that is not what was listed as easy for us, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We want to work with you to make your event happen and will try to do so even on busy days!
We are optimistic that rescheduling may even lead to higher race day numbers. Once this situation passes, participants will be eager to get back out into their communities, get or stay active, and have fun at your events.
If it is certain that you cannot reschedule and you must cancel, with heavy hearts we unfortunately must keep your deposit. The deposit is intended to cover our normal operating expenses and to ensure we had timing available for your race. Some of these expenses include ensuring we have trained personal, appropriate equipment, reliable transportation and other costs incurred in preparation for your event. There may be instances where we purchased additional supplies for your event such as ordering custom bibs or maybe even adhering the timing chips to the bibs that can’t be used again. In those instances we might need to bill for those. We are deeply sorry and hope you understand these extenuating circumstances.
We truly value you, your event, and your participants’ health. Please let us know how we can help you and please reach out with your thoughts on your event and if you would like to start planning a new date.