COVID Plan

Created July 24, 2020.

Updated July 24, 7pm – masks and peripheral vision

This plan will be adjusted as the pandemic evolves. Please check this page on Friday before coming to the event on Saturday.

The organizers of the We Walk! Marathon want the athletes, our volunteers, our contractors, the county, and any other concerned person, organization or government unit to understand the steps taken to comply with Minnesota Emergency Orders, and to follow guidelines from the various health agencies (MN Department of Health, CDC and WHO), and to follow guidelines from USA Track & Field (the governing body for road racing). We want to provide a safe event for all involved in it. We want people  to have enough information about what we are doing so that they can make an informed decision on whether participating is a reasonable choice for their situation.

What we ask of participants (athletes, volunteers, contractors, county workers) that plan to be onsite on race day:

  1. If you are sick, stay home.
  2. When you enter Mayer Lutheran High School, wear a mask
  3. Social Distance
  4. If you feel sick during the event, contact the on-course EMT

The current executive order on face wearing face masks does not require them for athletes involved in outdoor recreational activities. Be aware that you may encounter members of the public using the trail in addition to people associated with the We Walk! Marathon. Many agencies have recommendations on how to wear a mask (see references below). You must decide what makes you feel comfortable. We recommend you follow your decision during your training.

When you are wearing a face mask, please be aware that the mask itself removes some of your downward peripheral vision. This can cause you not to notice obstacles in your path which can lead to a fall. If you are moving while putting on or taking off a mask, you attention is divided between the mask and your path. This too can lead to increased risk.

We have removed or reduced opportunities where the event organization would cause people to congregate or athletes to interact significantly with volunteers

  1. Limited registration to 200 (all distances). This means the density of people on the course will be very low, especially with the staggered start (see below)
  2. No pre-race dinner on Friday
  3. No pre-race food on Saturday morning.
  4. Coffee service all Saturday – in ordinary to-go cups – inside Mayer Lutheran High School
  5. Assigned and staggered bib number and t-shirt pickup on Saturday morning
  6. All distances are out-and-back from the start/finish line (no bus ride to the start)
  7. Put the on-course EMT cell phone number into your phone
  8. Immediate starting (no waiting) after pinning your bib number on
  9. We provide individually packaged water, Gatorade and food at the water stops and at post-race. The volunteers only place the items on the table. Athletes select items from the table.
  10. On-course clothing check: a volunteer hands the athlete a large clear plastic bag with a copy of their bib number inside, the athlete adds clothing, ties it shut and drops it in a plastic bin. The entire bin is brought back to the start line and arranged by bib number for athlete pickup after they finish.
  11. Timing System provides almost immediate “chip” time (personalized time from your start to your finish)
  12. Immediate finish medal – athletes pick it up from a table
  13. No immediate age group place medals this year. We can’t figure out how to do this with staggered starts.

We have changed our refund policy this year, allowing cancellations thru September 4 (two weeks before race day). We realize that an athlete’s personal circumstances may change between registering and race day, and we want to give them as much time as possible to adjust without suffering significant financial penalty.  

References:

MN Department of Health – Symptoms and Testing: COVID-19 https://health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/symptoms.html

MN Department of Health – Face Covering Requirements and Recommendations https://health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html

MN Department of Health – Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19 https://health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/prevention.html

MN Department of Natural Resources & MN Department of Health – Outdoor Recreation, Facilities and Public Guidelines https://staysafe.mn.gov/assets/outdoor-guidelines_tcm1152-435380.pdf

MN Department of Health – COVID-19 Sports Guidance https://health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/sportsguide.pdf

CDC — Use of Cloth Face Coverings https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: When and how to use masks https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

Blog post on peripheral vision and masks https://alexanderteachingstudio.com/why-your-world-is-different-from-behind-a-face-mask/