Perhaps a microcosm of the current division over whether U.S. states are ready to be opened or maintain caution in lockdown, two race event organizers recently made announcements that run in opposite directions. Literally within hours of each other, Spartan Race announced it is hosting its first major outdoor endurance race since the Covid 19 outbreak began, while Life Time, which owns the Leadville Race Series, announced that all 2020 Leadville-based mountain bike and run events will be cancelled amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spartan Race will return to action with 5K Sprint on June 13-14 at the WW MotorCross Park in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the company, and will includes a list of changes and new precautions that address issues ranging from cleaning and sanitation, personal protective devices, social distancing and screening of workers and participants. Spartan said it formed a task force to design multiple blueprints that meet various guidelines and legislative requirements. These blueprints determined the types of event modifications and transmission mitigation protocols, and are deployed based on government and expert guidance, local rules and regulations, existing industry best practices, and customer feedback.
A list of the updates and alterations to the Spartan Race can be found here.
Interestingly enough, the date of return for Spartan Race (June 13) is the same day of the first, now-cancelled, Leadville race of the season.
“We are expecting 4,000 Spartans per day for this event,” Spartan Races Joe De Sena told Obstacle Racing Media. “If you’re too afraid to live a Spartan life due to a virus then you’re already dead. We have procedures in place to make a Spartan event safer than going grocery shopping, going to Starbucks, or going in an elevator.”
Organizers in Leadville, meanwhile, cited the decisions of Lake County, Colo. commissioners as the basis for the decision to cancel all nine 2020 events. Those races were scheduled to take place between June 13 and August 22, 2020, and were expected to bring nearly 6,000 athletes plus their friends and family to Leadville, Colo., throughout the summer. In 2019, the series brought $18.5 million in local economic impact to Lake County.
Event organizers said Leadville’s hospital and medical resources are limited and cannot assume the risk of widespread outbreak, and the fact that participants come from 40 countries and 50 states. “We can’t control the precautions taken in communities outside of our own, and that comes with risk,” said the official release. “Colorado has placed capacities on event gatherings that would greatly impact our event starting lines. It is undetermined when these will be lifted, but we’re told it will not be this summer.”
“Believe us when we say that we’re going to miss you, and we’re going to be thinking about all of you, big time,” says Ken Chlouber, founder, Leadville Race Series. “Our team is already starting to prepare to make 2021 something special. We’re so thankful to have the backing of Life Time, who we’ll be working closely with to find solutions to help the Leadville community this year. We can’t wait to see you on the starting line soon.”