An update on our races....
We have been discussing our races with the permitting agencies quite a bit over the last few weeks. The reopening of the state is underway. Listening to the governor's press conferences, the intent is to do it in phases. The obvious question we have been asking is....what phase are running races going to be addressed (i.e. guidance and the reopening process)? In all of our conversations with our park systems and municipalities, the common answer is that it just isn't being discussed yet (that they are aware). The governor has assembled advisory groups to help with Responsible RestartOhio (
). It just isn't clear to us which one of these advisory groups will address events such as running races. Unfortunately, all of this means that we simply do not know when permits can be processed - either approved or denied - nor do the agencies that grant the permits. All permitting agencies we discuss status with continue to ask us to continue to wait. They truly don't want us to cancel until more guidance is available. They just cannot give approval or deny the permits yet. The feedback we receive is that isn't just our races - whether we speak to the ODNR (State Parks & State Forest), NPS, Summit Metroparks, and any municipality, we are all treated the same (makes sense, eh?). All permits continue to be on hold and will not be approved until more guidance is announced. This hasn't changed from the initial stay at home order back in March. With that said, we have made some decisions on two races.
This race was scheduled for June 20th. In discussions with the NPS, if guidance is provided today to allow races, it just wouldn't give them enough time to prepare for their aspect of approving the permit and conduct monitoring (they have always monitored). We understand the dilemma and agreed to move the race to the contingency date of Saturday, August 29th. This decision was made today and we are communicating it, as promised, today. Website will be updated within the next 2-3 days..
In discussing "what to do" with our signature event, we reached out to more than just the permitting agencies. We asked for feedback from volunteer captains and their crews, the host hotel (Sheraton), other race directors, and our network of people in the medical field. We definitely received mixed feelings/opinions.. However, the majority of feedback was supportive and was oriented towards having the race vs. cancelling it. We are making the decisions 100% based on what is best for the participants and our volunteers. The economics/financials are something we just are setting aside when making a decision to continue moving forward or cancel. When thinking of what is "best", it also appears to be a mixed bag - a "no-win" situation. There will be criticism if the event is held and the same if it is cancelled Those offering criticism all have valid points.
However, it is time to make a decision with the race two months away. We all want and need time to prepare effectively. Thus, Burning River will be rescheduled to the contingency date of Saturday, August 22nd. Yes, we are essentially asking for a few more weeks with the hope that more guidance is issued and the reopening continues to go well. Trying to be 100% transparent, we also do not want this event to be one of the first to be conducted after the reopening.
We are cautiously optimistic and using this optimism to move forward with the race on this new date. We also appreciate all the emails and encouraging words. If we do hear anything one way or the other, we will communicate it within 1 business day to all of you.
100 mile and 50 mile participants are able to get a 50% refund through the end of the month. If the contingency date is cancelled, all participants will be offered a deferral for up to three years. This is up and beyond the normal/stated refund policy as we recognize these are not "normal" times.
We miss you all and are looking forward to seeing you in person!
Jim, Vince, & Joe