COVID-19 Impacts & Procedures
As we navigate our ever-changing world, our mission to inspire you to live an active lifestyle remains. Now, more than ever, the Sports Backers team wants to keep you moving, but only in a way that keeps our participants, volunteers, staff and communities safe and healthy. Our team has been working hard to revise our event plans to meet the current social distancing requirements so that we can get back to celebrating your active lifestyles through our events in the safest way possible.
With individual’s safety and transmission mitigation in mind, we have been working on new event modifications and procedures that will allow us to safely operate Patrick Henry Half Marathon. These policies and procedures are based on current recommendations for COVID-19 safety protocols and are subject to change at any time.
What Sports Backers staff will be doing:
- All staff and volunteers will be required to wear a mask while on the event premise at all times
- Cleaning and sanitizing high-traffic areas at the start/finish area and on the course at regular intervals including, but not limited to, packet-pick up, porta-johns, start and finish line area
- Reducing communal surfaces that encourage group or repeat usage
- Hand sanitizer available for usage throughout the event including at packet pick-up, bottle filling stations, and near the start and finish areas.
- Any post-race food available will be pre-portioned and packaged for each participant
Patrick Henry Half Marathon Changes:
- The Patrick Henry Half Marathon will start and finish at Poor Farm Park located at 13400 Liberty School Rd Ashland, VA 23005.
- The race will have a 500-participant limit and will be strictly enforced.
- The start line and finish line will be in separate locations in order to minimize large group gatherings. We will also have a socially distant start corral set up to keep runners that are about to start separate from each other.
- The first start block will begin at 6:20 am and there will a start block every 20 minutes until all runners have started. Within each start block, 16 runners will enter the course every 2 minutes, or at the discretion of the start line staff.
- The 3-hour course limit is still in effect. Please note that if you are starting in the last corral that you still must be able to complete the course within the 3-hour time limit.
- All participants are required to bring their own personal hydration system to use during the race.
- Bottle refill stations will be located at four different locations around the course near miles 3, 6, 9 and 11. Each water stop will have Nuun sports drink and individual water bottles that will be able to self-serve to refill your water bottle or hydration pack. **Note: This is an update as of 8/24/2020
- There will be no tents, tables or chairs at the finish line to reduce group congregation and staff will regularly be asking participants to head back to their cars upon finishing.
- Medals and post-race food will be pre-packaged together in the finish area and you can pick up your package after finishing the race.
- Please be aware that due to the lengthened start schedule, we will have two-way runner traffic within Poor Farm Park. There will be course marshals there to direct you around each other.
- Anywhere that lines could form, we will have distance markers to denote where participants should stand.
- Spectators are not permitted at the start and finish area due to the current number cap on persons gathering in one location.
Social Distancing Procedures at the Patrick Henry Half Marathon:
- Participants will be required to wear a mask when not racing. Masks are required in the start area, in start corrals and again in the finish area. All runners are encouraged to wear their masks through the start line and take it off once you are clear of the star area. Participants are encouraged but not required to wear a mask while racing on the course.
- We will offer drive-thru packet pick up on Friday, August 28 from 3pm-6pm at Sports Backers Stadium – 100 Avenue of Champions Richmond, VA 23230. THERE WILL BE NO RACE DAY PACKET PICK UP.
- All Sports Backers Marathon Training Team participants will have the opportunity to pick up their race bib and shirt the weekend prior to the race at your MTT weekend run.
- Start times will be organized within 20 minute time blocks. Within each time block, we will be starting groups of 16 participants every 2 minutes.
- Participants will be given the option to pick their desired start time when registering. Once the participant limit is hit a on start time, that start time will no longer be available as an option.
- We will have the start line and corral area set up in a socially distant manner with markings on the ground denoting where participants should stand.
- Participants should remain in their cars away from the start/finish area until 15 minutes before your assigned start time block and remain socially distant when not in the start corral.
- Once you arrive at the start corral, you will load into the corral and find an open marked space to stand and wait. You will be given instructions on when to move forward towards the start line.
- Only those participants with the immediately upcoming assigned start time will be allowed in the corral.
- All runners will be required to carry a water bottle or wear a hydration pack during the race. Bottle refill stations will be located at on the course near miles 3, 6, 9 and 11. Each water stop will have Nuun sports drink and individual water bottles that will be able to self-serve to refill your water bottle or hydration pack. **Note: This is an update as of 8/24/2020
- If passing any participant on the course, please allow 10ft between you and the other participant or pedestrian. If 10ft is not available to you, please wait until you can pass safely.
- There will be a limited number of porta-johns available for use at the start/finish area and along the course. We encourage you to use the restroom prior to arriving onsite at the event. Hand sanitizer will be available for use before and after entering the restroom.
Per CDC guidelines the following groups are considered to be at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19. If any of these apply to you, we ask that you take the increased risk into consideration before registering:
- CDC high risk age threshold (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html)
- Those who are immunocompromised or undergoing treatment for an ongoing disease such as cancer, HIV, liver, or heart disease (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html)
- Those with moderate to severe asthma
Our policies and procedures will continue to be updated as we learn more about COVID-19 and how to keep our participants, volunteers, staff, and communities safe and healthy. These procedures are subject to change at any time and we appreciate your flexibility as we enter a new phase of social distancing races.