At NYCRUNS, we’re as excited as you are to return to racing, and we’re committed to creating the safest environment for that to happen.
Before putting the NYCRUNS Lousy T-Shirt Race, our first pandemic era race on sale, we spent months reviewing our event plans, researching what industry leaders are thinking, developing COVID-19 protocols that reflect the best information currently available, and determining how to produce our events safely and responsibly, in accordance with the best public health principles.
Much of our plan is framed within the DASH To The Start protocol. DASH is a simple framework of the steps NYCRUNS, and our employees, vendors, and athletes; in conjunction with our municipal partners need to follow for us to safely reach the start line together.
Density Reduction Athlete Communication Self-Reliance Hygiene
While DASH encompasses most of the changes you will see at our events, we will be also making some significant structural changes.
We will be discontinuing the use of volunteers. Only trained and vetted staff and vendors will be permitted to work any aspect of our events. By relying entirely on staff and vendors, we not only minimize the overall number of people at our events but ensure the safest possible atmosphere. Volunteers, while incredibly helpful, are no substitute for trained staff and currently should not be used in the high contact situations they are traditionally used in.
We will also be using less tents to provide greater clarity of purpose within the event site and decrease social interaction. Instead of using between 8 and 12 tents, we will be relying on as few as 2 all utilizing spit guards where necessary.
For our initial events, certain amenities such as bag check and port-a-potties may not be offered. While we recognize this will inconvenience some participants and dissuade others from participating, it is a necessary step in the evolution toward a “new normal”.
While our employees have always been well trained, we will be holding them to much higher standards going forward, particularly in connection with COVID-19 protocols, but also in terms of event knowledge. This will allow them to be not just employees, but true community liaisons at a time when they need to uphold our proposed standards consistently, intelligently, and without fault.
Also, in addition to the practices documented herein, in conjunction with our Medical Director, Dr. Stuart Weiss, we will be adopting the following medical practices:
Temperature checks of all staff, vendors, and participants before entering the venue on event day.
Health questionnaire screening of all staff, vendors, and participants before entering the venue on event day.
Our best practices will continue to evolve based on the knowledge available to us at the time.
Finally, its important that anyone reading this document recognize that it is a live document and subject to change as the science and best practices evolve.
Let’s DASH To The Start together!
Without question, reducing density is the most important step NYCRUNS can take to ensure staff and athlete safety and we’ll be focusing on it throughout the event planning process. From bib pickup to our post-race festival, we will be doing everything possible to keep things uncrowded and minimize face to face interactions.
Prominent changes minimizing density that you can expect to see at our events include:
Start times for our events will be expanded significantly and each participant will need to start within a designated window/wave. The window may be as little as 15 minutes or as much as 1 hour depending on the event in question. For our first events, we expect no more than 100 participants per hour to start. This process will allow us to stage participants at an effective social distance from the time they enter our event until the time they cross the starting line.
Guests and spectators will not be allowed in event areas or in close proximity to ones where crowding is likely. Specifically, access to the areas near our start and finish lines will be tightly controlled, keeping in mind most of our events take place in public spaces. Pre-race and post-race areas will be completely closed to non- participants.
Bag Check will be strongly discouraged if available. Bag check will also be divided into discrete pickup and drop-off zones to decrease density.
Bib and Shirt pickup will not be available on race day for the foreseeable future. Instead we will consider two distinct options for events:
One option will be expanding packet pickup to multiple days and exclusively in outdoor environments. By offering “after work” hours on two days, we expect 100% of participants to be able to pick up in person or by proxy.
The second option will be to mail all bibs and shirts for each race. The fee will be rolled into the registration fee for the race and is not optional. This method will require registration to close earlier than normal to allow for items to be shipped in a timely manner.
Under no circumstances will athletes be allowed into the event site before or after their window/wave. Entry points to the Parks or event areas will be staffed by an NYCRUNS employee. Bibs must be on the chest to pass this point, and the bibs will be strategically numbered or otherwise designated to easily distinguish between waves.
Density will be strictly controlled from the time athletes arrive at the event site through the time they cross the starting line and again once they cross the finish until they exit the event site. All areas will be clearly delineated. Delineation will be updated with stickers to let runners know they should “stand here” while waiting for the restrooms, baggage check or start of their wave.
Participants will be forbidden from running in groups of two or more and instructed to observe social distancing whenever possible when on the course.
For each wave of athletes, there will be double the number of port-a-potties, there would be at a normal event. Our initial events may not have them at all.
The main banks of Port-A-Potties will be split into multiple segments. A bank of 15 toilets might be split into 3 sections of 5 units apiece with 6’ between the sections. Each unit within the section will alternate the way it faces if possible.
We will incorporate standalone hand sanitizer units and portable sinks. We will also provide staffers to sanitize all toilets after each use.
Hydration stations will be expanded as needed to minimize density on the course. Each hydration station will also have a hand sanitizer unit nearby.
The post-finish area will be simplified and consolidated to minimize density after the finish line. There will be no finish line festival and athletes will be instructed to leave the event immediately.
It is difficult to overstate how important athlete communication is to this process. In order to ensure we have consistent conversations with our athletes, we will be doubling down on prerace communication and taking steps to ensure our messaging is understood and that athletes have resolved any perceived loose ends.
Registration will be closed earlier than usual in order to ensure consistent communication with all athletes. If all bibs and shirts are being mailed, registration may close as early as two weeks prior to an event.
Athletes will receive COVID-19 protocols via email several times before each event. These protocols will also be published on event pages and social media.
Signage will be in place at events to reinforce our COVID-19 protocols.
Staff and vendors will all be trained and provided documentation on these protocols.
Athletes will be encouraged via pre-race communication to ask questions prior to event day decreasing staff interactions at the event.
While NYCRUNS will continue to offer necessary amenities, we will also actively encourage athletes to be as self-reliant as possible. This will minimize the need for direct interaction with staff on event day and lessen the use of common amenities.
Athletes will be encouraged to use the bathroom before leaving home, rather than rely on the port-a-potties (which may not be available at initial events.)
Athletes will be encouraged to travel lightly so as to not have to use bag check (which may not be available at initial events.)
Athletes will be required to provide their own pre-event hydration and encouraged to supply as much of their own on course hydration as possible. Hydration packs, fuel belts, water bottles and similar materials will be actively encouraged.
Athletes will be required to bring their own face coverings and wear them throughout the event. While we will provide supplemental face coverings as needed, any athlete not conscientious enough to bring their own face covering, should not be participating in these events.
Hygiene is closely intertwined with our overall effort and we’ll be working closely with our medical team and within CDC and NYCDOH guidelines to provide the most hygienic environment possible. As might be expected, our focus is on limiting face to face interactions, mandating face coverings at most times, providing copious amounts of hand sanitizer, and cleaning thoroughly throughout the event.
Staff and vendors will always be provided with face coverings and gloves to be used while working.
Staff and vendors will be required to wear face coverings any time they are within 20’ of an athlete or each other.
Athletes will be required to wear a face covering throughout our events.
Touch points and areas of close interaction between staff and athletes will be greatly reduced.
All registration and race related purchases will take place online. Under no circumstance will cash, checks or credit cards be accepted in person.
After crossing the finish line, athletes will be given any finisher amenities (hydration, medals, heat sheet etc.) in a plastic bag and directed to bag check (if necessary) and to exit the event. Items will be prepackaged ahead of time by staff.
We will forgo the traditional high fives and other points of significant contact at the finish line.
Areas of close interaction such as Solutions tents will be outfitted with spit guards.
Course Hydration stations will be staffed by smaller teams who will not come within 6’ of athletes. Hydration will be provided in the form of tiny bottles of water rather than disposable cups.
Hydration items will be spaced out significantly to minimize athlete contact.
Port-A-Potties will be stocked with sanitizer and have additional sanitizer stations outside as well as portable sinks. They will be sanitized throughout the event.
Port-A-Potties will be spaced 6’ apart or alternating entry sides where possible.
Hand sanitizer will be available at any other common area such as bag check the Solutions tent, or hydration stations.
Cleaning of common areas and touch points will be done regularly. All staff members will be issued cleaning supplies.