WhyRacing is hosting its first live running event of 2020, and the Scary Run in Washougal might be the perfect event for that distinction.
“Scary Run — we were doing masks before masks were even cool,” WhyRacing president Sherri McMillan said. “We are all about the masks.”
Recent changes in the state’s COVID-19 restrictions now allow for outdoor running events. Up to this point, all 11 of WhyRacing’s running and multi events in 2020 have been held virtually.
A virtual event will remain an option for the 5-kilometer, 10-kilometer and half-marathon events for the Scary Run — the half-marathon will be virtual only — with a window of completion beginning Sunday and running through Oct. 31.
But for 600 entrants, a live event for the 5K and 10K races will begin at Reflection Plaza in downtown Washougal will be held the morning of Halloween and then run along the Columbia River and back.
“Looking at the mandates and speaking with the governor’s office, outdoors is deemed safer,” McMillan said. “So we’re just excited to be able people to get outside, do some exercise, walk or run a distance, focus on their health and to do it in a safe way.”
Since 2016, the Scary Run has been a favorite event on WhyRacing’s calendar with competitors dressing up in costume to compete.
That will remain the same for the 2020 event, with some obvious changes.
Runners will be sent out in waves — about three runners every minute from 8 to 11 a.m. — to ensure social distancing on the course. Participants can sign up for 10-minute windows on when to begin their races.
“We are encouraging the faster runners to take the earlier time slots so there will be less crowding on the course, less people passing others,” McMillan said.
Runners won’t have to wear facing coverings while on the course, but will be asked to wear a mask before and after their races. Also, food vendors and post-race awards ceremony will not be part of this year’s live event.
There will also be pre-race temperature checks, health questionnaires and sanitation stations. Runners only will be allowed at the start/finish area. Spectators will be limited and are asked to observe distance protocols if liningup along the course.
McMillan says she is confident WhyRacing can hold a safe event, while still keeping it fun.
“We may be the first in our area (to run a live event), but we aren’t the first in the country,” she said. “I do have colleagues from other states who have been hosting live events for months. I’ve been able to rely on their expertise and their experience to know that we are doing it well, and we don’t have to reinvent the wheel to do things to keep everyone safe.”
With 600 spots only for the live event, space is limited, so competitors are encouraged to register early.
McMillan says a lot of eyes will be on WhyRacing, and that’s why the group is working to follow all the safety protocols.
“We’re hoping this is great and goes off without a hitch because we are also hosting the Santa’s Run (in Vancouver slated for December) where everyone runs in a Santa suit,” McMillan said. “If we could do that live, it would be great. So we’ve got to do this one right so people will feel comfortable doing the Santa’s Run.”
She also hopes this event will brighten people’s Halloween.
“We’re hoping to add to the fun to the holiday because this hasn’t been the greatest year,” McMillan said. “People need something positive to look forward to.”
- WHAT: 5-kilometer, 10-kilometer road races that will be held live for first 600 entrants, virtually for others.
- WHEN, WHERE: 8-11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 31 for live event at Reflection Plaza, Washougal. Virtual window (Oct. 25-31).
- COST: $49 adults, $24.50 ages 13-17; free for 12-under.
- MORE INFO: whyracingevents.com