As marathons prepare to return in full force (or, at least, partial force due to capacity limits), many races have postponed their events until the fall. For those who are keeping their races in the spring or early summer, organizers are trying to put protocols in place to limit any kind of boost in virus transmission. For one marathon, this means vaccinations or negative tests.
Glass City Marathon to Require Vaccination or Negative Test
When you think about it, marathons can be both safe and not when it comes to virus transmission. Runners typically aren’t in huge clumps (except for major marathons) and the races are completely outdoors, allowing for fresh air and ventilation.
Dealing with Health Protocols in Marathons
But, then you have aid stations, those necessary spots along the 26.2 mile course where the fantastic volunteers line up to dispense water, sports drink, energy gels, fruit, and more. Seriously, these volunteers are the best and no race could function without them. But, there has always been some amount of contact as drinks are passed along, though it is often minimal. Still, those are congested areas at times with runners breathing heavily as they refill, get their hydration, etc.
Then you have what many of us runners do during the course of the race after having shaken hands of runners we have not seen in a while – runners from various states and even countries. We use our hands to wipe our faces, noses, etc. It has always just been part of the marathon process but now with organizers trying to put on events that won’t end up being accused as spreader events, all of these things are being looked at.
The Glass City Marathon, in Toledo, Ohio, is known to be a fast course, thanks to its flat profile. So, it is highly sought after by runners who want to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This year, they have opted to not postpone it so they will be one of the few marathons that will take place in April. But, they are instituting new health protocols for the April 25 race.
Want to Run the Glass City Marathon? New Health Requirements
E-mails went out last week to those who were registered to let them know that they must have a negative test within 72 hours of the marathon or they need to provide proof of full vaccination, finished at least two weeks before the marathon.
With vaccinations in some states still not open to everyone, many may need to go the route of the negative test. This will require added expense and detail that must be accomplished before running the race. The race director, Clint McCormick, said that it is the right thing to do, saying he has been in contact with the health department and this was an appropriate call to make.
They also said that there have been many complaints, due mostly to the timing. This notice came just six weeks before the marathon and a marathon is an event that people would already be 10-12 weeks into training for. Another issue could be with the tests. There are still not a lot of places to get certain tests to have results back in 72 hours or less, unless you go with the rapid tests. In many cases, you may not be able to just an appointment for such tests unless you have reason to believe you were exposed, have symptoms, or are in healthcare.
Being that the title sponsor of this marathon is Mercy Health, it would be a nice move if they made a way clear for local runners to get tested at any of their locations. I am not sure what the various testing protocols and requirements are in Toledo but that would certainly be a help for any local runners.
With the races already filled to capacity and 500 on the waiting list, the Glass City Marathon organizers say it is possible to sell the bib, through their long-standing system, if runners opt to not run this year, following this announcement.
I think it is fair to say that other marathons will be eyeing the Glass City Marathon and the weeks to follow to see what happens with any virus numbers. These kinds of protocols could be introduced at other events throughout the year as well.
Source: Toledo Blade