Quite a few people are starting to ask when some of our events will come back on the calendar this year. And while we are as keen as anyone else to get back to organizing there are a few factors that are outside our control that must be factored into any decision.
1) PSO & Insurance approval – we are in uncharted waters here. I sanction all my events with either VeloNB, RunNB or TriNB. Without consultation or approval from the individual PSO’s I will not proceed with any events. The PSO approval provides me with the General Liability and Accident Insurance coverage for the organizers, volunteers and athletes.
2) Municipality approval – perhaps the most important element here is approval from the governance of the area in which we want to host an event. I would suggest that without municipality approval any insurance policy would be void. We have excellent relationships with the municipalities in which we host events and we will simply follow their recommendations, suggestions and guidelines.
3) RCMP – with any of our races on public roads we always consult with local RCMP or Police. For us this applies to Hampton, KV Marathon and our Time Trials.
4) The Rules – The ITU and USA Triathlon have published detailed documents about how races should look and feel on their return. This could increase the cost of races for athletes as in the sport of triathlon more bike racks will be needed, more sanitization stations, more toilets, people dedicated to cleaning during the race and on and on.
4) The Venue – is the host venue ready to host an event? We have had to cancel our airport race this year as the airport is virtually closed down to commercial flights and their budget has been dramatically reduced due to the lack of passengers through the airport. The airport puts a tremendous amount of resources into this race in terms of manpower and administration plus all the Transport Canada hoops they must follow to allow 300 people to run on a live runway.
5) Public perception – Sports that take part on the roads or a public park always have a delicate relationship with the general public. We want to organize our events with minimum disruption to the public. However, if we organize events too soon when the public are still undergoing restrictions we risk alienating sections of the public who do not see the benefit of sport as much as we do. Also it will be the Race Directors who will be held to account – not necessarily the athletes but the damage will be done.
6) The race – time trial starts sound excellent in principle but how do we deal with groups at the start line (actually easy to manage) but will the same efforts be put into preventing groups at the finish line. How do we prevent people starting at intervals from meeting up during the race and breaking the guidelines – all these questions and many more need to be considered.
7) The Critical Factor – The Athlete – when we have taken care of all the above elements the athletes will actually determine the success or otherwise on an event. While I love the idea of racing right now, I am not sure if I am ready to race from a personal, emotional, health or mental perspective. My emotions ebb and flow on this but I won’t know for sure until the right race presents itself but I will want to ensure that everything I have described above plus a lot more is in place before I make that decision to register. Perhaps this leads to the athlete asking more questions of the Race Directors but if this is being done is to improve the quality of races this can only be a good thing.
I could go on and on as there are a thousand things to consider in terms of volunteers, aid stations, officials but I will finish with this unpopular thought. People cheat in Virtual Races and as Race Directors we have to be able to deal with it and at the present time people are even more sensitive to everything that I have listed above. When events come back we will need the co-operation of everyone to make them run smoothly and create a positive impact on our community. I can’t wait to get back.