PRESS RELEASE 3/12/20
COVID-19 (NOVEL CORONAVIRUS) IMPACTS ON ROCKSTEADY RUNNING TRAIL AND ULTRARUNNING RACES INCLUDING THE ZUMBRO ENDURANCE RUN, SUPERIOR SPRING TRAIL RACE, AFTON TRAIL RUN, SUPERIOR FALL TRAIL RACE AND ENDLESS SUMMER TRAIL RUN SERIES.
On March 11th, 2020 the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic. According to the World Health Organization a pandemic is the “worldwide spread of a new disease”. Just as public and private entities from every sector are creating protocol and planning contingencies in order to address COVID-19, so must running events. Rocksteady Running, in concert with our key medical volunteers, are keeping apprised of the latest news on the pandemic along with guidance from the World Health Organization, the National Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health. As of this writing (3/12/20), neither the National Centers for Disease Control nor the Minnesota Department of Health have placed a moratorium on mass participation events in the state of Minnesota. However, organizations in every sector are self-electing to cancel events, public gatherings, classes, etc. We are also staying in contact with the cities and counties where our events are held as well as with permitting agencies, including the United States Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. To date, none of these municipalities or agencies have placed a moratorium on “mass” participation events.
As of this writing, we are in full swing continuing to plan and prepare for all of this season’s races. At the same time, we are also working diligently to create contingencies should we be compelled to, or should we self-elect to, cancel any of our races. Given that this is such a fluid, dynamic and rapidly evolving situation, we will make and communicate necessary determinations as new information comes available in the coming days, weeks and months.
Trail and ultrarunning races face some unique challenges in the face of COVID-19. Thankfully, one of our long-time medical volunteers is a both a trail / ultrarunner and a leading Infectious Disease Specialist here in Minnesota. Considering the recommendations and best practices set forth by the World Health Organization, National Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health, consulting with other race directors from around the country, and seeking the trail / ultrarunning specific recommendations from our very own expert, we are in the process of creating specific safety / hygiene guidelines for our races should they proceed. We are also creating plans, protocol, contingencies and communications ready to set in motion should we have to cancel any of our races. In the event of a cancellation, our registration, cancellation, reschedule and deferment policies will remain in effect and unchanged.
In the event that we should cancel any of our races (Zumbro Endurance Run, Superior Spring Trail Race, Afton Trail Run, Superior Fall Trail Race or the Endless Summer Trail Run Series), we will make every effort possible to do so within a reasonable number of days prior to an event / well before runners start to mobilize for and travel to the event. Due to the quickly evolving nature of the pandemic, we cannot commit to any set timeline, either for these determinations to be made or for our next communication(s) to be made public.
For our first two races of the season that take place this Spring; the Zumbro Endurance Run (April 10 & 11) and the Superior Spring Trail Race (May 16), we realize that participants have made, are currently making, or will be making travel plans shortly. We strongly encourage anyone flying to Minnesota for one of our events to purchase travel / flight insurance. Several airlines have recently announced more flexibility / leniency in regard to cancellations and rescheduling. Travelers should review the specific information provided by their airline. Participants should also familiarize themselves with the cancellation policies of rental cars and lodging / accommodations if either apply.
As we have all witnessed, there is an abundance of both good information and misinformation out there. As lay-people, it is not always easy to decipher one from the other. Organizationally, we believe in science, and place the findings and guidance of the scientific community first. Regardless of the pandemic’s effect on our ability to hold our races in 2020, we hope for everyone’s sake that the worse-case scenarios being prognosticated do not come to fruition. Our thoughts and prayers are for the health and safety of our frontline medical professionals and of course with our most vulnerable citizens who are ultimately comprised of our family, friends, neighbors and fellow runners. We will keep you posted on developments related to our races, as they unfold. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
Race Director – Rocksteady Running /
Zumbro, Superior(S), Afton, Superior(F), ESTRS
You can reach me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources for reliable and trustworthy COVID-19 information:
World Health Organization https://www.who.int/
National Centers for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/
Minnesota Department of Health https://www.health.state.mn.us/
University of Minnesota http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19