The Marathon Project on December 20 gave pro marathoners across North America at least one chance to compete in 2020. Given that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, the race organizers put several COVID-19 testing protocols in place to keep athletes and support personnel safe. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of race officials, one athlete tested positive for the novel coronavirus after the race.
The COVID-19 testing protocols for the event required that all athletes must produce two negative COVID-19 results that are at least 24 hours apart. The first test had to be done within seven days of the competition. The participants were also required to complete an on-site self-reporting survey to confirm they had felt no symptoms in the previous seven days, and to have their temperature checked before entering the start/finish area on the morning of the race.
According to race director Ben Rosario, the protocols worked very well, and three athletes who tested positive in the week leading up to the race did not travel, and did not run. Despite the strict requirements, one athlete still tested positive following the race. The athlete in question had some issues post-race that were not related to COVID-19 and was taken to the ER. While in the hospital, the athlete tested positive.
According to Rosario, the athlete contacted anyone they spoke with that weekend, which was apparently minimal. The organizers also notified all other participants about the positive test result, and Rosario has said that no one else has had any issues.
“With the protocols in place race weekend, we feel confident this was isolated. And because the athlete was positive Sunday night we also feel that the most likely scenario was that said athlete contracted the virus sometime between their negative tests earlier in the week and before race weekend began,” Rosario said in a statement to letsrun.com.
The athlete is reported to have mild symptoms, and Rosario is confident that the positive result was not because of the race, nor was it spread to other athletes or support personnel.