There are new rules when it comes to running etiquette: wear a mask or buff, social distance and avoid large groups. Race organizers should have more waves of runners, impose lower caps on participants and provide hand sanitizer stations.
- Runners should be assessing their level of risk each time they leave their home. People with certain health conditions, such as asthma and diabetes are at higher risk for severe cases of Covid-19. Remember to stay hydrated, just as you would on any summer run if there wasn’t a pandemic.
- Run outside whenever possible and avoid running in large groups or crowded areas.
- Wear a mask that allows you to breathe, but don’t let it give you a false sense of security. Be cautious when interacting with others and remain at least six feet apart, if not more.
- Amir Muhammad Figueroa, a research scientist in the department of microbiology at Columbia University, is optimistic races may return in August or September with certain restrictions. Figueroa, who is also a leader with New York City-based running collective Harlem Run and an Under Armour endurance athlete, recommends buffs, which are similar to the tube of a turtleneck but seamless and breathable that can cover the face and mouth while running.
- “There’s so much that we don’t know about this coronavirus, but I would lean towards the thought of keeping my clothes separate whether running solo or after a race. I’m overly precautious when it comes to Covid-19. There’s no evidence behind that, but it puts my mind at ease,” Figueroa says.
- Carry around a little bottle of hand sanitizer with you on runs, to cleanse your hands in case you come into contact with a surface that could be infectious.
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- “Remain vigilant, find a mask that’s comfortable to wear” and be mindful of energy levels and nutrition, recommends Alison Mariella Désir, founder of Harlem Run and a mental health coach.
- Switch up your running schedule to when fewer people will be out in your neighborhood and try to find new routes that are less highly trafficked.
- Consider bringing your own reusable cup to races, both to slow the spread of the virus from volunteers handing out single-use cups and to lessen the environmental impact.
- Race organizers should lower caps on the number of participants and have more waves of runners spread out over different starting times to reduce the concentration of runners.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Steve Lastoe, founder and race director for NYCRUNS, had to figure out a way to give runners a unique experience outside of the traditional races and events that were put on hold. He was initially hesitant about holding virtual races and events, but his mind quickly changed as the coronavirus lockdown continued. The “Subway System Challenge” asks its participants to run 245 miles—the total mileage of the route track within the New York City Subway system’s 472 stations—in 15 weeks or less. Lastoe says the challenge has “actually saved the company from the financial harm that the pandemic caused,” adding that he’s “a huge fan right now” of virtual events.
NYCRUNS has tentatively targeted August 8 for the company’s first smaller-scale, in-person race, and it will likely include a virtual option for runners who don’t feel ready for the in-person experience.
Don’t attend a race that doesn’t require masks, or has insufficient sanitization stations and resources. Be wary of races that don’t set out these requirements clearly during the sign-up process or on site.
While virtual racing provides an outlet for runners across the world to participate in different events, Désir says some athletes are welcoming the break. It gives athletes a chance to recover from injuries, take stock of what’s really important in life and help them enjoy movement without the pressure of a race.