The run must go on.
On Saturday, KMXT plays hosts to Run the Rock — a fundraising event for the island’s public radio station that features races in distances from 5-kilometer up to a marathon. Of course, just like any sporting event being conducted in the COVID-19 era, Run the Rock will look different than the previous 13 editions.
But, just having a community run during a pandemic is a reason to celebrate.
“People are really jonesing for a live race,” race director Pam Foreman said.
The most notable change to this year’s format is registration will be all online. In the past, runners could register the day of the race at Bear Valley Golf Course, but, this year, to limit close contact, runners must register online by 2 p.m. Friday at kmxt.org.
Some other changes: Staggered race times (15 runners in each group), no use to the clubhouse at Bear Valley, a virtual component and face masks must be worn at all times when not racing and when not at the starting line.
“Our first concern is the safety of the runners and volunteers — and it takes a lot of volunteers to pull this off — so we want to make sure everybody is safe,” Foreman said. “We are asking that no one who has any kind of symptoms or is running a fever, please stay home.”
Runners will be asked to arrive just before their races and asked to leave afterward. There will not be a BBQ or an awards ceremony. Foreman hopes to post results on Tuesday, a day after the virtual portion of Run the Rock concludes.
The marathon starts at 8 a.m. on Near Island, while the other races all begin and finish at Bear Valley Golf Course. The half-marathon begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by the 10K at 10 a.m. and the 5K at 1 p.m.
“We are doing our best to try to separate people and get them moved on after they finish their race,” Foreman said.
Foreman said a mitigation plan was written and approved by the Kodiak Emergency Operations Center and the Coast Guard signed off on using its land to have the race.
This, however, was before the recent outbreak of Coast Guard COVID-19 cases in Kodiak. With 16 active COVID-19 cases in the community, Foreman said there is a chance for the entire event could to shift to a virtual format. But as of Monday night, that wasn’t the case.
For those choosing the virtual format, runners don’t have until Monday to submit times and the run can be done on any course in Kodiak.
Runners can pick up bibs at KMXT at 620 Egan Way Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.