As track season fades into cross-country season, we will hopefully see some in-person races pop up around Canada for the general public to enter. The bulk of the cross-country season is still a few weeks away, but a race that’s coming up quickly is the Ankle Breaker XC Run Peterborough, Ont. The event will take place at Peterborough’s Nicholls Oval Park on September 26, and 200 people will be permitted to race in either 2.5K or 5K options. The groups will be split into waves to comply with provincial health and safety guidelines, and there will be other COVID-19 protocols in effect on race day as well. Registration is now open for the run, and with limited spots in the field, it’s apt to fill up quickly.
Race organizers have worked closely with Peterborough Public Health and the City of Peterborough to set the event’s COVID-19 protocols. A key element of this is of course social distancing. The provincial government has a 100-person limit on social gatherings, which is why there will be two waves of 100 people run three hours apart. The first wave actually consists of two races: a 5K for runners who can run sub-23 minutes for the distance and a 2.5K run for kids. The 5K will kick off at 9:30 a.m. and be limited to 60 people, and 40 people (including kids and any parents who want to run with their children) will be permitted to start the 2.5K.
At 12:30 p.m., well after those races are finished, the second 5K of the day will begin. This race is reserved for runners with expected 5K times of 23 minutes or more. Since this will be the only race held in the afternoon, this field is open to 100 runners. For the two 5K races, no spectators will be allowed, and only one parent or guardian is allowed onsite per child in the 2.5K.
The races will be very basic, with no aid stations in the registration area or on the course, no post-race food or refreshments and no awards. Racers will receive ankle timing chips, which will be the only interaction (conducted two metres apart) that runners can expect to have with event staff and volunteers.
A lot of thought and care was always required when organizing races, but even more is needed for any in-person events in the world of COVID-19. Running in limited fields with next to no spectators present isn’t what we’re all used to, but any in-person race is better than none, and this will likely be the way things remain for the foreseeable future.
To learn more about the Ankle Breaker XC Run, click here.