The popular Johnson City Downtown Mile road race has been waiting in the wings for months trying to get going.
On Thursday, the event is scheduled to go off, but with a new course and many new social distancing guidelines.
The fourth annual event will take place at the Johnson City Mall, unlike in previous years when the course wound its way through downtown, starting and finishing on Main Street.
“It feels really good to finally be putting on a race,” event organizer and Goose Chase founder/president Karen Hubbs said. “This year has been rough for road races overall. This has been a work-in-progress since April and we really didn’t want to cancel it because we didn’t want to disappoint the runners.
“I’ve been talking and working with Hank (Brown) for weeks and it has been a total team effort.”
There are plenty of guidelines in place as well to help heighten social distancing protocols including no race-day registration with paper forms. For race-day registration, participants will go to a designated tent and verbally register for race. Payments will be through Venmo or Square and no cash or checks will be allowed.
For packet pickup, it will be contactless or minimal contact.
There will be dynamic bib assignment that allows people to register from their laptop or smartphone up to race time. Crew members will hand bibs to participants when they walk in and check them off on a laptop.
The crew members/volunteers will abide by the protective guidelines provided by the State of Tennessee.
There is a limit of 250 people for the three races (kids 10 and under, open and elite). The first kids race begins at 7:30 p.m. and there will be approximately 20 minute gaps between races.
“We’re actually only about half right now, so we have plenty of open spots,” Hubbs said. “We understand that people are probably going to show up the day of the race just to make sure it happens. We also understand that some people may not show up because of concerns about the virus and we understand that, too.”
There will be spacing of tables/tents throughout the area.
Hand sanitizer and mask stations will be available in the bib pickup area and throughout the race area.
Everyone will need to sign a waiver at the event.
The start line is located near the mall entrance. Organizers will use the entire parking area to allow for staging of the waves.
Each wave will be no more than 50 competitors and will be properly spaced out for social distancing.
Runners should not run in packs of more than four and runners should keep socially distant during the race.
Runners are to bring their own water or fluid as there will be no water stations on the course.
Masks are not required during the race but encourage others to wear a mask when not racing.
No dogs are allowed in any of the races.
Spectators will be allowed to space out along the route.
“We are very thankful to the city, the mall and all of our sponsors for letting us have this event,” Hubbs said. “We just want for people to come out and have a good time and make good memories, but we want them to do it safely.”
There will be no postrace food and limited bottles of water.
There will be no awards ceremony except for the recognition of the top three runners in the elite race immediately after the conclusion.
The winnings for the top three in each gender in the elite race are $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third.
Runners may pick awards at the designated awards tent near the finish line.