A local director of running races – including the virtual Sidney by the Sea Run/Walk – offers a “wait-and-see” prognosis for running events in the face of COVID-19.
“We look toward other events and other advisory groups,” said Cathy Noel, race director. “I’m certainly on calls, probably on a weekly basis with race directors from across the country to figure out, ‘OK, when we are able to have events again, what does that look like?’”
Noel, who also organizes the Goddess Run and the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, offers this early prediction. “Events are not going to be the way they were before. Things have changed.”
Key questions include the number of permissible people in a starting corral; how give out water at a water station or even how to recruit volunteers as early as the organizing stage.
As for the details of the coming virtual run in Sidney, Noel said registered participants can walk, jog or run their chosen distance, be it 5k, 8k or 10k, anytime between Sept. 20 and Oct. 18.
Money raised through the event goes toward the Shaw Centre for the Salish and the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Healthcare Foundation with last year’s event having raised a combined total of $10,000.
Noel said she expects a couple of hundred participants for the virtual run, which they complete anywhere. “Certainly, there are lots of events that have gone virtual, but we wanted to continue on in a small way to give those people the opportunity to support our charities and keep it in peoples’ minds,” she said.
This year’s change to the format comes after Noel’s company Choice Events Ltd. took over the event last year.
This move helped save and revive the run.
“I took it on in July (2019) and within two months we had 500 people at the start line,” she said. “The community, [town] council, the sponsors, the media, they all came out to support. They rallied to make it happen. All of this was great.”
Noel does not hide her disappointment for 2020. “It’s disappointing for the charities, and also as a fixture, as one of the main running events in Sidney, because it is a beautiful place to run.”
This said, would-be runners can still enjoy the experience of running and make a difference by registering for the event at raceroster.com/events/2020/27286/sidney-by-the-sea-run-walk-goes-virtual.