NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Many large gathering events have been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including 5Ks and marathons. However, that's not the case for the Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.
On Friday, the Rock 'n' Roll series group Safe Return to Running Guidelines.
Officials described them in a press release as "a series of comprehensive operating principles prepared in accordance with industry standards for open-air mass participation sporting events. Based on standards from the World Health Organization (WHO) and developed with guidance from the IRONMAN Global Medical Advisory Board (IGMAB)."
The guidelines center around five practices:
- Enhanced Hygiene
- Screening and Education
- Touchpoint Minimization
- Rockstar Run Smart Participant Support
- Density Reduction
To protect runners, a race organizer said they're streaming runner starts rather than using waves.
"Four runners every two seconds," said Drew Wolff, regional director for Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. "Only releasing 800 runners every 10 minutes with some built in breaks, really allows us to spread this out. Picture Demonbreun downtown. It's a very wide road. Now we're putting out very few runners. So, we don't expect those bunchings that you would typically see."
Officials say measures will be put in place to give participants and workers the space needed to stay safe. This includes the expo, packet pickup, and the race itself - specifically the start and finish lines. Modification or elimination of non-essential race services and functions, such as expo and merchandise may also take place.
7,000 people are expected to attend the race. When asked with a marathon should be held during a peak period for COVID-19, Wolff said he believed the event would be safe because they've held other races in other cities.
"I think we have to look at our event. I mean, we're working with the mayor's office and metro public health and all of the departments in the city to evaluate our plan. How we can address the challenges that we face. We certainly wouldn't hope to host an event that we didn't think we could execute safely," said Wolff.
The race will start at Nissan Stadium's parking lot, rather than in downtown Nashville.