Staging a race isn’t easy, especially during a pandemic. It takes months of logistical planning to ensure the safety of all individuals. Charlotte Brookes, the National Event Director at Canada Running Series has studied and attended in-person races around Canada over the past year to assure her event runs smoothly. We are three weeks from the start of Toronto’s Scotiabank Waterfront 10K on Oct. 17, which will welcome 5,000 runners plus elites to Toronto’s Lakeshore Blvd., as the largest race to take place since the pandemic.
We spoke to Brookes, who recently helped out at the Calgary and Manitoba marathon. “Over the past six months, we have been doing monthly calls with other race co-ordinators across Canada on a safe return to racing,” Brookes says. “At the Manitoba and Calgary marathon, I was able to see these protocols firsthand.”
“A reason why both races were successful is because of the runners. Everyone I met in Calgary and Manitoba was respectful of the rules and guidelines.” Brookes says. “And at our 10K, we hope to implement similar policies.”
One thing that worked well at the Calgary Marathon was the line management before, during and after the event. “Participants had to schedule their kit pickup time with great line management outside of packet pickup, so there were never line ups. We have done something similar with our start, assigning participants a 20-minute time slot to enter the start line on the day of the race,” says Brookes. “We will have paid event staff and medical staff at the start and finish, guiding runners on where to go before and after their run.”
The Canadian 10K Championship elites will be the first runners to take the start line at 8 a.m., followed by the masters event, then the 5,000 runners in the Scotiabank 10K. There will be groups of 100 runners going off at once, every four minutes. The groups will run fastest to slowest by their projected finishing time entered during registration. “Each runner will get a sticker on their bib showing that they provided proof of vaccination before the race. We want to provide a safe environment for everyone, which makes us one of the first races to require vaccinations to compete,” says Brookes.
All runners will have to complete a COVID screening test before the race and if they test positive, they will be told to stay home and will be given a refund. “We have designed this event to work well in our city and the landscape we were given,” says Brookes. The race will start and finish at the intersection of Strachan Ave. and Lakeshore Blvd, with water stations along the 10K route.