Managing a cancelled race and racing schedules during the COVID-19
As an event management company, timing company and coaching company, we face the challenge of managing events and our own athletes in some times of uncertainty. While we don’t have the perfect answer, our goal is to provide some perspective and insight on how to deal with some of the frustrations you may be experiencing during this time. First and foremost, we ask that you follow and keep up to date with the latest CDC updates and recommendations on COVID-19.
How to handle cancelled races
1) Be kind and patient with race directors. This is uncharted territory for all race directors. Our RunningLane team as well as many other RDs in our area are working as hard as they can to provide accurate and updated information on the status of events. They are doing all they can to ensure safety to all participants. Most race directors are also athletes or have been athletes, they understand your frustrations.
2) Most races are going to be searching for alternative means of gaining participant support and satisfaction. From race postponements to the addition of virtual races, many are searching for proper alternatives to typical race day events.
3) Remember, everyone is in a tough position.
4) Respect the no refund policy if that is what you agreed to during registration.
5) You love the sport, so take a long-term view of your role in ensuring the financial survival of your community-owned events.
6) DO NOT harm your race of choice by doing charge backs or demanding a refund if the race has a no refund policy. This hurts the long-term survival of an event you hope to run one day.
7) Keep in mind local events are just like small businesses in your community, your support will be critical to their survival.
How to handle racing or lack of racing & staying motivated
Just because your race got cancelled doesn't mean that your fitness disappears! You're still in shape even if how you are going to use your fitness changes. Keep these ideas in mind when approaching your next few weeks of training.
1) Keep training & keep your fitness.
Just because a key race of yours is cancelled, doesn’t mean your training should come to a stop. Fitness is cumulative. You still have the opportunity to reap the benefits of this training block even if it doesn’t finish the way you intended it too.
2) Look for alternatives.
Try out small local races that may not have cancelled, try time trialing or set up a small unofficial race with some friends.
3) If you are training for something longer (AKA marathons or ultras), switch focus to training for a shorter distance.
Most major marathons and larger ultras will get cancelled. There is a greater chance that a small 5k will happen over a longer event. It is also easier to set up a time trial or mini race with a small group friends over a shorter distance.
4) Keep moving-it’s good for you!
There is compelling evidence that moderate exercise keeps you healthy. The academic journal Frontiers in Immunology published a study in April 2018 titled, "Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan."
According to the authors, John P. Campbell and James E. Turner, "evidence from epidemiological studies shows that leading a physically active lifestyle reduces the incidence of communicable (e.g., bacterial and viral infections) and non- communicable diseases (e.g., cancer), implying that immune competency is enhanced by regular exercise bouts."
This is good news for runners – in particular, for older runners. Campbell and Turner address the aging athlete and say that “exercise should be encouraged, particularly for older adults who are at greatest risk of infections and who may obtain the greatest exercise-induced benefits to immune competency.”
Campbell and Turner end their article with these words: "leading an active lifestyle is likely to be beneficial, rather than detrimental, to immune function . . . “
While following all the guidelines by the CDC and local authorities, if you can get outside for a run, that's great. If you're worried about exercising near others, try getting out early in the morning or at dusk during standard dinner time.
5) Get outside.
Running in the open air and the scenery will do wonders for your spirit. Numerous studies show green exercise has positive health effects, in particular, green exercise was found to reduce anxiety and stress, and to improve mood, self-esteem, attention, concentration and physical health.
6) Control what you can control.
We are fortunate to be in a sport that allows us to get out side, and doesn’t have us relying on a gym membership. However, we know that whether your child-care situation changes or work changes, that life looks a little different. Approach each day with the attitude that you will do what you can and what your family and community require of you. Running is just a small piece of life that is enjoyable, but it isn’t everything.
As many businesses try to create logical course of action during this time, we remind everyone to act with kindness and positive intention and not out of fear or frustration. We place a high priority on the health and well-being of our community.
We are currently living in a time where professional sport seasons have been cancelled, college athletes are missing out on NCAA championships in their senior season of sports and high school athletes are having any extracurricular events cancelled. Be patient and kind with rules set in place, cancellations that happen, and restrictions on events. We remind you to stay positive at this time, as a good attitude is contagious.
Safe, healthy and happy running,
Your RunningLane Team
Many of details listed here are from our friends at rrca.org check out their website for other details.