The head of the Rock N Roll Marathon Series shared an announcement across social media with an update on how they’re approaching races in 2021. It wasn’t a specific, definitive strategy for guaranteed races. It didn’t include any updates or details on marathons or triathlons. But it was clear and honest and made me feel like we’re on the same page.
Andrew Messick is the CEO of The IRONMAN Group – the Rock N Roll Marathon Series is part of the company. ‘RnR’ as it’s often called is a huge international race series with super fun marathons and half marathons. It’s also one of my favorites and I’ve run several RnR events. So when I saw his video message today on Twitter I stopped and paid close attention. I know a lot of you want to know if your favorite race will be pushed back, cancelled or switched to virtual before you register or start training.
I keep asking when will the ‘big city’ races be back because I think massive events (like the New York City Marathon and Boston Marathon)… can be held again smaller races with less resources can use their model to also go live again.
Logistically running events with THOUSANDS of people squeezed together in tight spaces, using porta potties with no hand washing, grabbing cups of water from strangers, etc… are the hardest things to put back together in a Covid world. But if there’s a way – the military-like operations behind the Boston Marathon and NYC, will be able to figure it out.
Back to today’s announcement…
Messick didn’t give runners any guarantees because no one can make any promises right now. He doesn’t know when it’s going to be safe to hold traditional endurance events without risk of cancellation due to Covid related factors. You don’t know. I don’t know.
I appreciate this update because it was realistic and felt like it was ‘athlete to athlete’. It also was a reminder to anyone frustrated that their marathon was cancelled and/or mad at race organizers that – THEY WANT TO HOLD EVENTS.
Race organizations are hurting. People have lost jobs. Companies have went out of business. There are people who have been hurt by this beyond losing their fitness for a PR attempt. It’s important to keep it in perspective (and try to be extra kind).
I transcribed most of today’s announcement but you can watch it on Twitter here – Rock N Roll Marathon Series Twitter Update.
“I want to provide an update on where we stand with regard to being able to operate raises around the world.
We all want to get back to racing. I want to get back to racing you want to get back to racing and the question is when, so let me tell you about what we’re thinking and trying to accomplish.
Ultimately our ability to host races is going to come down to a series of factors… what’s happening with the virus, what’s happening with vaccinations, what’s happening with travel restrictions and the appetite of our host communities to welcome athletes, volunteers and staff to be able to conduct a race. We’re guests just in our communities and ultimately tooth combination of virus vaccination travel restrictions and appetite for our host communities differ around the world.
Our operators right now are working with our host communities to determine what’s possible.
We want to host races. That’s our goal.
We are in the business of Hosting races and we hear from athletes all around the world how badly they want to race.
So our focus is on making the races happen.
We’ve already seen Oceanside has moved to October. We think that many of the races early-season in Europe are going to be moved to later in the year. We think that many of our larger running events in North America are going to be moved to later in the year. We make those decisions only when we feel like we have exhausted every opportunity to be able to safely make those races happen. That really is the thing I want to communicate most strongly here.
We wait until we have no alternative until we’re certain that the races can’t happen before we enact a postponement. You can’t un-postpone an event so as long as there’s a chance we’re trying to make it happen.
And we hear the feedback we’re getting from all of you that you’d like more lead time between when a race’s supposed to happen and when we’re forced to move it. We’re sensitive to it and we appreciate it. But at the same time our fundamental view is that if we can make an event happen we want to.
So how do we deal with the uncertainty because there’s going to be uncertainty in the next few months until the Covid situation stabilizes.
All any of us can do is stay mentally and physically strong. Rely on your tri-clubs, on your coaches, on your training partners, on your family to maintain focus, maintain discipline and put yourself in a position that when we’re able to safely conduct events again you’re ready.
When this becomes no longer a thing we’re ready to get back to doing what we love. Which is racing and being with our community of athletes around the world who share this incredible passion we have for endurance sports.
Until then, good luck and I can’t wait to see you at the races later this year.” – Andrew Messick – CEO of The IRONMAN Group
I’d love definitive answers. I want to get you more information and answers. (If you happen to have all the answers – please send them my way!) And while we didn’t get any dates on when we’re 1000% certain the next big marathon is going to happen in person, I appreciate the honesty and acknowledgment.
We want to run races. They want to put on races. Hopefully we’ll all be able to do that very very soon.
Until then – DO THE WORK. You have time to train and improve. What you do with this time is up to you.
Comment below or on MY @RUNEATREPEAT INSTAGRAM post with your thoughts.
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