The Corona Virus COVID-19 411 for Runners
Like many runners around the world we kicked off 2020 with anticipation for all the miles ahead of us this year! We were already committed to, and training for, some races and we were in the process of planning others. The rapid spread of Coronavirus has us questioning how runners and races around the world might be impacted. COVID-19 has affected people on multiple continents and this virus outbreak is destined to continue to spread throughout the word. In addition to the obvious health challenges there are economic, business and social ramifications. Runners are now faced with canceled races and questions about booking and participating in future races during this year. Tokyo marathon was canceled when the number of confirmed cases in this county of 125.8 million had only 414 cases. This speaks volumes to the extreme concern of the virality of COVID-19. Experts are expressing concern about densely populated areas and avoiding events with large groups of people. Being that my next race is the New York City Half Marathon I am left wondering if the Coronavirus will impact race day and just how concerned should runners be?
Why the urgency to isolate people & cancel events?
All types of major events around the world have been cancelled or postponed, major races are among those cancellations. As of March 5th the following races are just some of the athletic events that have been postponed or cancelled due to the Coronavirus:
- Rome Marathon (Race Date: March 29)
- Paris Half Marathon (Race Date: March 1)
- Hong Kong Marathon (Race Date: February 9)
- Tokyo Marathon: only elites and wheelchair athletes were permitted to run (200 out of 38,000) (February 29)
A major reason for the cancellation of these large races is because of the spread by carriers who are asymptomatic. People that do not show any symptoms but are carrying the virus are spreading the virus. It is these pockets of ‘community spread’ that are so concerning to health officials. The fear of large groups assembling in events such as races is this potential of rapid spread from asymptomatic individuals carrying the COVD-19 virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated their fatality rate stats and now says the rate is about 3.4 percent for COVID-19. Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO explained in a recent press conference that this virus is very unique and appears to be more deadly than SARS and Influenza. A 3.4 percent death rate is very different than the influenza death rate of under 1%.
Run Smart During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Stay updated on the ever-changing status of the virus by referring to reliable sources. Harvard Medical School recommends the CDC and WHO, these organizations have a mission to inform and protect the public. The World Health Association has guidelines on basic protective measures against this corona virus https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public. It is important to keep living a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and a healthy diet to keep the immune system and body strong. Keep up your running but if the virus continues to spread maybe those solo runs would be a better choice than group runs.
Running & Sport Event Cancellations
As we have seen in Hebei province in China and areas of Italy entire community populations have been ‘locked down’ and isolated to their homes to contain the virus. In these countries and others where the virus is gaining momentum large events and travel has been cancelled. More and more running and sporting events are being cancelled worldwide daily. Following suit with the Tokyo marathon cancellation Paris has cancelled its annual winter half marathon on March 1. Sporting events through Europe and Asia have been canceled. There has already been conversation about the possibility of cancelling the London Marathon, Boston Marathon and even the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Since this is a quickly evolving situation, we’ll have to wait to see if these major events are impacted. No matter what happens you can count on one thing for sure, race or day or not we’ll still be running. It’s one of the best things I know for health of mind and body.
As experts continue to recommend avoiding large gatherings, especially in areas of existing infection, this may cause race cancellations or may deter runners from showing up to the starting line. As this virus continues to spread this may continue to impact races of all sizes. If you find that your races are cancelled but you still want to experience the challenge and accomplishment of race day then consider running virtual races.
Virtual races are a great way to run a race "virtually" with thousands of other runners yet choose your course! Your physical run can be done solo or with a small group of family and friends, a perfect option if you’re looking to avoid large gatherings. Run your race on your roads, your trails, a treadmill… anywhere you want. Gone for a Run Virtual Race Series is partnered with the Charge Running App to offer our runners an exclusive LIVE race experience. The app experience will allow you to log on with hundreds of other runners around the world and run your race with a live leader-board and a running coach with great music in your headphones.
Gone For a RUN Virtual Race Series also offers a Challenge Series. Our challenge series offers race challenges that include training plans, coaching, group support and more! Available virtual race challenges are available in: