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Organisers considering virtual 5K events

Published:Saturday | April 18, 2020 | 12:14 AMKavarly Arnold/Gleaner Writer
The start of the 2020 Sigma run/walk at Emancipation Park in New Kingston on Sunday, February 16.
The start of the 2020 Sigma run/walk at Emancipation Park in New Kingston on Sunday, February 16.

Western Bureau:

Local road-racing organisers are considering the idea of going virtual with 5K events because of restrictions on mass gatherings due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Race organiser Alan Beckford has already had a trial run of the innovative venture and is positive about the results. He said that he is looking forward to such a venture because he sees it as quite easy and says it could be the future of road racing.

“I did one recently called For the Love of Running, where some 30-odd people entered,” Beckford said. “I was supposed to start one on Thursday but was concerned about the possibility of a lockdown soon. You can do it from anywhere. We had a lady from Cayman that entered, and she did her 5K on the treadmill, so one doesn’t even have to go on the road.

“From a management point of view, it’s very easy to do. Basically, we send the distance, and you do it where you want to do it and send in the result online. We also give them a two-week window to do it, which gives people the motivation to go for it in their own time,” he added.

Running Events Jamaica managing director Alfred Francis said that hosting virtual 5Ks during the coronavirus outbreak is quite possible and is the way forward.

“We did it for Sigma this year for the persons who were not physically able to be at the venue, so it is quite possible,” Francis said. “If someone wants to do a virtual 5K, we are quite capable and the perfect entity for it. It’s easy for us to do because our timing system and online registration system is there to facilitate it.

“With the situation we are in right now, this is the way forward because we can’t have 5,000 people in one place to run.”

On Di Run Events Management director Wayne Long welcomes the idea of hosting virtual 5Ks to mitigate against the road-racing industry dying because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s something that I would have to explore,” he said. “With the situation we are in right now, it might be the way forward. It’s very much possible, just a registration and a link. It’s not like the host will have to get any equipment or anything like that.”