Earlier this year, Wendell Foster officials postponed the organization’s half-marathon to November, hoping that COVID-19 pandemic transmissions would be on the decline.
But with coronavirus case numbers on the rise, the decision was made to cancel the in-person half-marathon and hold a virtual event instead.
Registrations are still being accepted for the virtual 13.1 miles half-marathon. Race director John Gleason said participants will run on their own on the course of their choosing. The decision was made to cancel the event this year because of the risk of a mass gathering to runners, event volunteers and Wendell Foster clients, Gleason said.
“We tried to consider every avenue,” before deciding to cancel the Nov. 14 event, Gleason said. “This is what we felt was safest.
“We didn’t feel comfortable having 14 states represented” and facing the possibility of people contracting the coronavirus, Gleason said.
A press release said the decision was made using state and federal health guidelines, and in consultation with local health and city officials, and race volunteers.
The half-marathon is a Wendell Foster fundraiser. During the first event last year, Wendell Foster raised about $26,000, Gleason said.
“Our main purpose for last year was to raise awareness for Wendell Foster,” Gleason said. “We had 20 states represented.”
The deadline to sign up for the virtual marathon is Aug. 21. Everyone currently signed up, and those who sign up by the deadline, will receive a race packet containing a T-shirt, a finisher’s medal, a hat, a gear bag and a half-marathon sticker.
“We encourage the runners to complete the distance,” Gleason said. “We encourage them to get a selfie with their (race) shirt on” and post it on social media.
“We would love for people to start a Facebook fundraiser (for Wendell Foster) when they are running.”
Canceling the in-person event now gives runners planning on traveling to the event time to alter their plans, Gleason said.
“We had people traveling from Washington State, New Jersey and New York,” he said. The organization is already planning for next year’s half-marathon, which is scheduled for Nov. 13, 2021.
“Hopefully, the third year, people will be even more eager to come out and support us,” Gleason said.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse