ORLANDO, Fla. - Nearly 2,500 runners will take to the street in Downtown Orlando Saturday for the OUC Orlando Half Marathon. This year, runners can expect some major changes to the event.
“Our protocols had to be approved by the city, county, it’s been reviewed by medical experts,” said Jon Hughes, Race Director, OUC Orlando Half Marathon.
Race Director Jon Hughes says no spectators will be allowed, every runner must complete a health screening, the competitors socially distanced. The runners will be split up into ten groups with their own holding areas. The staging areas will have markings to space every runner apart, each group will start the race at different times.
“We don’t look at it as 2,000 people, we look at it as little pockets that are going out and being separated all the way through 13 miles,” said Hughes.
Runners will have to keep their masks on, until they cross the starting line. As for the water stops, they’ll be BYOB: bring your own water bottle.
“We have touchless refill stations, it’s a foot pump and they will be able to get their water, touchless, nothing gets touched and continue on their way,” said Hughes.
And there won’t be a pre or post-race celebration, to avoid crowds.
“It does not have the social aspect as much of the fun, festive, entertaining aspect that we normally like to do, that’s unfortunate but the good thing is the runners are still going to be able to be out there, competing against each other, on the course,” said Hughes.
But what about those who are concerned about this being a super-spreader event? We asked the CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission to respond to those concerns.
“That’s what makes America great is that if you chose to participate, wonderful, if you chose to abstain, so be it, if you chose not to participate, that’s fine as well,” said Jason Siegel, CEO, Greater Orlando Sports Commission.
Hughes says there will be a designated team responsible for keeping people distanced, preventing spectators and reminding folks to wear their masks.