The Cowtown says they've created a plan to safely hold in-person races this year during a one-day event.
With COVID-19 mitigation in mind, The Cowtown staff and board said Tuesday they have come to an agreement with the city of Fort Worth and Will Rogers Memorial Center on a plan that will allow them to hold their event on May 8.
The Cowtown will offer virtual options to run the Kids 5K, Adults 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Healthy Hig Half Marathon, Full Marathon, and Ultra Marathon.
There will not be any in-person races for the Kids 5K, Marathon, and Ultra Marathon.
Proceeds from The Cowtown go directly to The C.A.L.F. Program.
The C.A.L.F. Program (Children's Activities for Life and Fitness) was made brought about in 2009 to help children in the area lace-up and cross countless finish lines.
This year, adhering to social distance protocols, they are providing virtual training to hundreds of North Texas schools.
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The courses will consist of teaching proper running technique, how to monitor one's heart rate, the importance of hydration, proper nutrition and how to live an active lifestyle.
Through the C.A.L.F. program, they have made running a 5K race a reality for 42,000 children in the last 11 years.
"We may be one of the first major races to host an in-person event in 2021," said Cowtown Executive Director Heidi Swartz.
Swartz is positive they can offer the same marathon experience while following COVID-19 safety protocols.
"We are going to demonstrate best practices in offering our traditional experience with a sensitivity to social distancing and crowd control. We are nothing but confident and organized in our approach with input from all of our partners. We are thankful for the enthusiasm and support from runners, sponsors and citizens alike."
This is a huge change for the 43rd running of Cowtown. Instead of traditionally taking place on the last weekend of Feb. It's now moved to May 8, on Saturday.
This year's presenting sponsor is Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center.
The COVID-19 protocols to be strictly enforced are written below.
Limiting Participation size:
- Half Marathon: 3,500 runners maximum- A rolling start at 6:30 a.m.
- Healthy HIG Half-Marathon Relay: 500 Teams (2,000 participants maximum) - A rolling start at 6:30 a.m.
- 10K: 1,500 runners maximum - A rolling start at 8 a.m.
- 5K: 1,500 runners maximum- A rolling start at 8:30 a.m
They will also highly minimize the amount of physical interaction and contact between everyone:
- Drive-thru packet pickup: Runners will cycle through a series of tents without leaving their car, being handed packaged merchandise, bib, etc.
- No in-person Expo: Virtual goodie bags and booths will be deployed via web and email.
- Self-reporting symptom checks: Checks will be conducted on all runners via email at 10 days and three days prior to the event. Virtual options will be offered to anyone instructed to stay home due to symptoms or contact with a positive person.
- Designated start times: The starting line will be open for 2.5 to 3 hours. 200 athletes at designated start times will be spaced out by cones at 6-feet distance. Staging will extend to parking lots.
- Required masks: Masks will be required for all runners to cross the start and finish lines. Anyone not wearing masks at critical points will be subject to disqualification.
- Hydration planning: Runners must carry their own hydration. Water refill stations are available, but no open water stops/ no disposable cups will be offered on the 2021 course.
- Prepackaged, sealed food: All finish Line food will be sealed/pre-packaged and handed to runners in a "go" bag along with their finisher medal. There will be no after-party on Burnett-Tandy.
- No nutrition (GU) distributed on the course: GU will be provided to Half Marathon participants at packet pickup in each runner's box.
- No spectators: No spectators will be allowed to congregate at Will Rogers, nor at the start or finish lines.
- No reunite area: participants will need to plan to meet their parties at their parking place.
- No hotel or relay shuttles: participants can park at UNTHSC or Will Rogers.
- No gear check; runners need to plan for not having this available.
- Temperature checks: Checks will be conducted daily for set-up and race day volunteers. No volunteer will be allowed on-site if fever is present.
- Masks: Volunteers will be required to wear masks for the duration.
- Face shields and gloves: These will be provided and required for various volunteer jobs.