Welcome to the cold weather running season. We are safely through Halloween, but COVID is still out there scaring us all. And what a difference 2 weeks makes. We were in fact prepared to announce the schedule for this year’s masked and socially distanced COVID “friendly” Freezeroo series (I had the president’s letter written!). Now however with an acute nationwide and NY state flare of COVID, our region was just moved this week into the “yellow zone” with caps of 25 people total for any mass event. It doesn’t look like we can therefore move ahead with in-person racing until there is improvement again in our local numbers. At this point, with all permits and reservations still in process for each Freezeroo site, we won’t offer a series option but just have to let people know about each race individually when WE know that it can proceed, depending on Dept of Health approval. The earliest possible race at this point would be the New Year’s Resolution Race. in Mendon Ponds on 1/1/21. It IS possible that none of the races go forward given what we are all hearing about COVID, and I doubt that would come as shock at this point to anyone. Who would have thought last March that we would still be in this situation going into 2021? We do though need to be within guidelines and go forward only when we can be sure it is safe for our runners and community.
In the meantime, don’t misunderstand. We are NOT suggesting people avoid running. Running is one sport that CAN be done outside in any season with adequate COVID precautions. Solo running or running with those in your personal “bubble” can be a way to mentally and physically survive these unprecedented times. I personally have logged more miles and worn out more shoes than usual. There are still virtual events ongoing and each of the running stores are still trying to allow small groups that fall within guidelines. Rochester Running Company at this point is still hosting their small group weeknight runs and Saturday morning small pace groups. Fleet feet just suspended their Saturday paced runs but still have some in-person events planned on their website, including their weekly “trails and Ales” event on Thursdays. Medved is hosting the Virtual Feast Thanksgiving Run/Walk with prizes and premiums, plus an option to purchase a pie! All the stores remain open for all your purchases and running needs. With all however, check their websites and facebook pages often about their active offerings, as the COVID guidelines situation is in daily flux.
As I have said before, 2020 has been an “interesting” year, and one that none of us want to repeat. Our region in general has still NOT done badly with COVID compared to other areas of the nation because of our collective diligence with group sizes, social distance, mask use, COVID precautions and common sense. Even though we are limited in races now, keeping up compulsively with these approaches remains our best strategy for coming out of the pandemic and returning to some semblance of normal. And there WILL be vaccines coming. The running community still has challenges ahead of it but we WILL eventually come out of this, stronger as individuals and runners. As always, come join (or renew your membership in) GRTC. A modest $20 yearly membership goes a long way to keeping our sport vibrant and maintaining running events and opportunities for all. In the meantime, keep running. See you out on the road (6 feet apart).
Doug Jones (President GRTC)