Local road races affected by COVID-19

Ross Corder Photo

The seventh annual Lake Cumberland Half and 10K will offer its participants the opportunity to complete their respective race at their own pace from Saturday, Aug. 1 through Saturday, Sept. 12. Nelson Weaver, who is the race director for the half-marathon and 10K race, felt that switching the race from a live event to a virtual one was the best decision for all those involved.

While many businesses and organizations are starting to get back to normal across the country, that is not the case for running and walking races.

Over the last few months, races all over the United States have gone virtual, moved to a later date, or have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally, several race directors have had to make alterations to their events because of the rapid spread of the virus.

After the Cool Run at Midnight and the Mud Mayhem and Fun were called off due to the coronavirus, three of the next four races in the Lake Cumberland Run/Walk Series Powered by Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital to be cancelled are the Pack the Pantry Four-Mile Relay Race, the Superheroes 5K, and the Color Run on the Runway 5K.

The Pack the Pantry Four-Mile Relay Race, hosted by Grace Baptist Church, was scheduled to take place on Aug. 1. The relay, which raises money for God’s Food Pantry, has decided to forgo their 2020 event and return in the summer of 2021.

The Superheroes 5K was slated to take place in early May, but it was rescheduled for Saturday, Aug.15, in hopes of hosting the annual event. After another increase in COVID-19 cases, race host Science Hill Christian Church made the decision to skip the race for this year and move forward with the 2021 event.

Just like Superheroes 5K, the Color Run on the Runway 5K was scheduled to take place in the spring, but it was moved to Sept. 13. However, due to the lack of improvement with COVID-19, that race will not take place this year.

There is still one race that will take place in 2020, but it will be done virtually. The seventh annual Lake Cumberland Half and 10K will offer its participants the opportunity to complete their respective race at their own pace from Saturday, Aug. 1 through Saturday, Sept. 12.

Nelson Weaver, who is the race director for the half-marathon and 10K race, felt that switching the race from a live event to a virtual one was the best decision for all those involved.

“This year would have been the seventh running of the race, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the planning committee has made the decision to go virtual instead,” began Weaver. “A lot of factors went into making the decision not to hold a live event. The live race date was to be held on September 12th. However, once all the restrictions and limitations fell into place regarding large gatherings, similar races all over the country were immediately cancelled, postponed, or were run virtually. Although the decision has been made for some time, it appears it was definitely the right choice to not hold the race in light of the continued spread of COVID-19 and the restrictions still in place.”

The event not only gives folks around the area a little extra motivation to go out and exercise, but it also benefits the Pulaski County chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which is a nonprofit organization that works toward our vision by building strength, stability, and self-reliance in partnership with people and families in need of decent and affordable homes.

“Since 100 percent of the race proceeds go to benefit Habitat for Humanity, we did not want to just cancel the race,” Weaver stated. “We had already cancelled or postponed several of our annual fundraising events. When we saw several races around the country were doing a virtual race, we hoped we could keep it going, allowing a completely different format for runners/walkers who may have never completed 13.1 miles before, and be successful in raising money for our wonderful charity.”

The race will be held virtually, which means that participants can run or walk the event on their own time between Saturday, Aug. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 12.

Participants can complete their race all at once or break it down into different days.

“There are many different formats, but we have chosen to make it to where anyone who wants to put in a little effort and time can complete the distance,” said Weaver. “Although we would encourage individuals to run the actual course and even to do the race distance all in one run, through RunSignup, we have the capability to split the distance into several smaller runs over the course of 43 days. You can start the event beginning August 1st and will have until noon of September 12th to complete either the 13.1-mile or 10K (6.2-mile) distance.”

Runners and walkers can choose between the half-marathon (13.1 miles) or the 10K (6.2 miles) event for $35. Race participants will receive a race shirt (tri-blend or tech), a three-inch medal with a one-inch ribbon, and a four-inch vinyl sticker to commemorate their involvement in the popular race.

Helping out the local Habitat for Humanity is a great reason to sign up for the virtual event, but the race swag is an added bonus, according to Weaver.

“Speaking of swag, we wanted to offer some really good stuff and at an affordable price,” said the race director. “All race swag can be picked up after September 12th or mailed to the address you provide at signup. There is also an option to purchase additional shirts. While you are signing up, please consider donating an extra couple of dollars to the Habitat for Humanity.”

To sign up for the race or learn more about it, please visit TheLakeCumberlandHalf.com.

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