Dear Prospective 2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Lottery Entrants and 2020 Deferred Entrants:
With our successful Credit Union Cherry Blossom Virtual Run behind us, we are now less than two weeks away from the June 1 opening of the lottery for the September 12 Fall Edition of the in-person Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk, the Runner’s Delight of Fall.
The decisions just announced by the District of Columbia and the states of Maryland and Virginia to relax and then end COVID-19 restrictions, and the CDC pronouncement easing mask wearing rules, have given us a renewed sense of optimism about our September 12 event taking place. However, as the last few months have shown us, conditions can change very quickly, and we must be flexible. The range of possibilities that we must plan for range from an event “like the old days” with no COVID-19 related restrictions of any kind, to an event with COVID-19 restrictions if there is another summer surge of infections that cause a tightening of the current guidelines. We will be forthright in all of our communication with prospective and accepted entrants about what the event will look like.
Based on current guidelines, the organizing committee is planning for our event to take place on Sunday, September 12 (with the Kids Run on Saturday, September 11). Here are the answers to many of the questions about the race at this moment. Obviously, these are all subject to change.
How many runners will be accepted into the event?
We will accept all of our 2020 Deferred Entrants via Guaranteed Entry Links (GELs) and enter all lottery registrants into the lottery during the month of June. After the GEL and lottery period closes on June 30, we will determine the total number of participants allowed in the race based on any COVID-19 limitations in effect in early July, and we will admit all of the GELs and enough lottery registrants to reach that number. If we are confident that there will be no restrictions in September, we will accept our usual number of participants. To recap, this means all of our GELs will be accepted, followed by lottery entrants up to the field size we determine at that time that we can accommodate. The field size will be determined by a combination of municipal outdoor gathering limits and any social-distancing requirements that may be in force. As you can well understand, social distancing requirements will impact the size of the field due to limitations on the space available in our starting area.
What is the go or no-go date for holding the race?
While we are very optimistic that increasing vaccination rates (Please do yourself and your fellow runners a favor and get vaccinated!) mean we will have an event on September 12, we remain aware that a summer spike in infections could tighten restrictions, including on the size of the field. We have determined that we need to be allowed to have 11,000 paid registrants in order to stage the race. At this level, Cherry Blossom, Inc., the non-profit organization that owns the race, will still be taking a financial loss in order to stage the race, but we are committed to taking that loss in order to continue to offer the event that means so much to the local and national running communities.
The Go or No-Go decision will be made on August 1. If a no-go decision is made, it will not be reversed after that date. If the race is a no-go, entrants will be offered the option of a refund or a lottery deferral into the 2022 race. Individuals who used their 2020 deferral to enter the September race by a GEL will have two deferrals, which may be used for the 2022 and 2023 events.
With all of these unknowns, should I enter the race?
Obviously that is a personal decision, but we want you to be aware that the following conditions may be in effect before you make the decision to enter the race:
Masks: Mask wearing may be required before and after the race, but masks may be removed during the race.
Proof of COVID-19 Protection: We will not require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test prior to participating, but we sincerely hope that a runner experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms will opt not to take part.
Social Distancing: Social distancing may be required in the staging area on the Washington Monument Grounds, lining up in the corrals at the start, and at the finish line. Runners may be encouraged to remain socially distanced throughout the run.
Starting Time: We have been informed by authorities that we will not be allowed to extend the time we can keep the roadways closed for the event, so, if necessary, the race may start an hour earlier (6:30 a.m.) to allow more time for socially-distanced participants to start.
Here are some other potential changes from the norm:
Water Stops: On-course water may be served in bottles, and if so participants will be encouraged to carry their own hydration with them.
Post-race Activities: Post-race food and amenities including bag check may be limited or eliminated.
Pre-ordered Medals: Individuals ordering medals may be required to pick up their medals at packet pick-up.
Health and Fitness Expo and Packet Pick-up: The exact nature of the Health and Fitness Expo will not be determined until August 1. If social distancing and crowd size limits are in force on August 1, the Health and Fitness Expo may be scaled down, but packet pick-up will take place at the National Building Museum
Kids Run: A final decision about the status of the Kids Run on Saturday, September 11 will not be made until August 1.
We strongly encourage anyone who does not feel comfortable with these potential conditions, or who feels these limitations make the event less attractive to them, not to enter the September 12 event.
While we are hopeful that we will be able to run the event exactly as in the past, the above cautions represent our assessment of potential alterations in the event. Remember that GEL entrants have the option of entering either the September 12, 2021 event or the April 3, 2022 event. GEL entrants who do not enter in September will receive a new GEL allowing them to register for the April 3, 2022 event in December.
Want to Proceed? Here is the Timetable:
Wednesday, May 26
Entry by Guaranteed Entry Links (GELs) opens:
- There are nearly 12,000 individuals who opted to defer their entries from the 2020 race to the 2021 race.
These individuals will receive GELs on Wednesday, May 26 - the opening day of GEL registration. GEL registration will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on June 30.
- By clicking a link contained in the GEL email and providing your name and date of birth, you will obtain access to an entry form.
If you are uncertain if you opted for a GEL deferral last spring, Click Here for a list of the status of all of our 2020 entrants.
- Individuals who did not make a selection from the alternatives offered last spring were, as explained in detail at the time, designated as having deferred their entry and will receive a GEL.
- GEL entrants will pay the 2021 entry fee of $50.00 for the 10 mile or $40.00 for the 5K Run-Walk.
- GEL recipients should be aware that the GELs are uniquely tied to you and are non-transferrable.
Tuesday, June 1
General Lottery Opens:
- The public lottery for all non-GEL entrants will open at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 1. Access to the lottery registration form will be on the race website, www.cherryblossom.org.
Lottery entrants will complete a lottery registration form including payment details. Credit cards will not be charged unless the registrant is accepted through the lottery.
Special opportunity to donate to Children's Miracle Network: When entering the race or registering for the lottery, registrants will have an opportunity for the first time ever to make a donation directly to our official race charity, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Details will be provided at the time of registration.
Wednesday, June 30
Entry by GEL and Lottery Closes:
- The number of individuals selected through the lottery will not be determined until after the simultaneous close of GEL and Lottery registration on June 30 at 11:59 p.m. At that time we will know the number of accepted GELs, any social distancing limitations in effect at the time, and hence the number of lottery registrants we can accept to fill out the field.
- It is likely that there will be far fewer runners accepted through the lottery because many spaces will be taken by GEL entrants. (Openings will remain for Children’s Miracle Network charity fund-raising entries. Details here.)
Wednesday, July 7
Status of all Registrants Posted on Website:
- We will have set the size of the field and will list the status of every individual submitting a GEL or a lottery application by this date.
Monday, July 12
Transfer Period Opens:
- We will allow entry transfers during a slightly truncated transfer period extending through July 31. Both GELs and accepted lottery entrants will be able to transfer their entries.
Saturday, July 31
Transfer Period and Team Entries Close.
Sunday, August 1
Go or No-Go Deadline:
- In what appears to be an unlikely scenario at this point, if the COVID-19 pandemic mitigation terms appear so stringent that we are certain there is no possibility of holding a race on September 12, we will announce the cancellation by August 1. Entrants will be offered the option of a refund or a lottery deferral into the 2022 race. Individuals who used their 2020 deferral to enter the September race by a GEL will have two deferrals, which may be used for the 2022 and 2023 events. An August 1 decision to cancel will not be reversed.
Friday, September 10
Health and Fitness Expo and/or Packet Pick-up at National Building Museum Opens.
(Tentative) Saturday, September 11
Credit Union Cherry Blossom Kids Run at National Building Museum in conjunction with continuation of Health and Fitness Expo
Sunday, September 12
48th running of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk
Apply to be a Race Ambassador!
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk is looking for four runners to join the CUCB Race Ambassador team for the fall 2021 race on September 12, 2021! These individuals will be telling the world all about their race experiences on their social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and personal blogs. Interested? Click Here to learn more about the program and all its great benefits, and to fill out an application. The deadline for applications is May 23, 2021.