The Glass City Marathon in Toledo, Ohio, is set to run on April 25 after missing 2020 due to COVID-19. This is great news for Ohio residents and any out-of-state runners planning to race, but entry is not guaranteed for all participants. In a recent announcement, race organizers said runners would only be permitted to race if they had one of two things: proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test within 72 hours of the race start.
Proof or no run
“We were one of the first races that had to cancel last March, so how do we come back and be one of the first races to be in person?” Clint McCormick, Glass City Marathon race director, said in a recent interview. “We’ve been working with the [local] health department, the mayor’s office … those are the conversations we’ve had over the last 12 months, trying to figure out what we need to do as a community to be successful.”
McCormick and his Glass City team expect the vaccine and negative COVID-19 tests to play huge roles in that success. On top of that, organizers aren’t diving right back into normal racing. McCormick said they have hosted several “practice races” since September. These were events starting with 300, then 800 and eventually 1,200 runners, and they helped the race team figure out the logistics of holding a race during a pandemic.
They will take precautions with packet pickup, at water stations, there will be wave starts and the overall event capacity is lower than in years past. There will be a marathon, a half-marathon, a relay and a 5K, and overall around more than 2,000 fewer runners at the event as a whole.
Why should Canadians care?
The Glass City Marathon is one of the first races to implement this proof of vaccination or negative test policy, and if all goes well, more races could follow. In 2020, there were next to no road races held across Canada, and runners all around the country are eager to get back to racing. If the Glass City team can make this work, Canadian races could make their long-awaited comeback this spring, summer and fall, which will be widely welcomed by the national running community.