The Cowtown staff and board of directors, with input from the City of Fort Worth and Will Rogers Memorial Center, has established a comprehensive plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during its modified one-day, in-person event on May 8. The Cowtown will offer virtual options to run the Kids 5K, Adults 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Healthy Hig Half Marathon, Full Marathon, and Ultra Marathon.
“We may be one of the first major races to host an in-person event in 2021,” said Cowtown Executive Director Heidi Swartz. “We are going to demonstrate best practices in offering our traditional experience with a sensitivity to social distancing and crowd control. We are nothing but confident and organized in our approach with input from all of our partners. We are thankful for the enthusiasm and support from runners, sponsors and citizens alike.”
The following are highlights of the COVID-based protocols to be strictly enforced:
Limit participation size:
- Half Marathon:3,500 runners maximum– A rolling start at 6:30 a.m.
- Healthy HIG Half-Marathon Relay:500 Teams (2,000 participants maximum) – A rolling start at 6:30 a.m.
- 10K: 1,500 runners maximum – A rolling start at 8:00 a.m.
- 5K: 1,500 runners maximum– A rolling start at 8:30 a.m.
Reduce contact and physical interaction.
- Drive-thru packet pickup: Runners will cycle through a series of tents without leaving their car, being handed packaged merchandise, bib, etc.
- No in-person Expo:Virtual goodie bags and booths will be deployed via web and email.
- Self-reporting symptom checks: Checks will be conducted on all runners via email at 10 days and three days prior to the event. Virtual options will be offered to anyone instructed to stay home due to symptoms or contact with a positive person.
- Designated start times: The starting line will be open for 2.5 to 3 hours. 200 athletes at designated start times will be spaced out by cones at 6-feet distance. Staging will extend to parking lots.
- Required masks: Masks will be required for all runners to cross the start and finish lines. Anyone not wearing masks at critical points will be subject to disqualification.
- Hydration planning:Runners must carry their own hydration. Water refill stations are available, but no open water stops/ no disposable cups will be offered on the 2021 course.
- Prepackaged, sealed food: All finish Line food will be sealed/pre-packaged and handed to runners in a “go” bag along with their finisher medal. There will beno after party on Burnett-Tandy.
- No nutrition (GU) distributed on course:GU will be provided to Half Marathon participants at packet pickup in each runner’s box.
- No spectators: No spectators will be allowed to congregate at Will Rogers, nor at the start or finish lines.
- No reunite area: participants will need to plan to meet their parties at their parking place.
- No hotel or relay shuttles: participants can park at UNTHSC or Will Rogers.
- No gear check; runners need to plan for not having this available.
- Temperature checks: Checks will be conducted daily for set-up and race day volunteers. No volunteer will be allowed on site if fever is present.
- Masks: Volunteers will be required to wear masks for the duration.
- Face shields and gloves: These will be provided and required for various volunteer jobs.
ABOUT THE COWTOWN: In a commitment to the safety of all athletes, volunteers, spectators and staff, the 43rd running of the Cowtown will now take place on one day, Saturday, May 8, 2021, shifting from the traditionally scheduled last weekend in February. This year’s presenting sponsor is Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center, Fort Worth. In-person races will take place at Will Rogers Memorial Center and will only include the 5K, 10K, Miller Lite Half Marathon, and the Healthy Hig Half Marathon Relay. The Cowtown will offer virtual options to run the Kids 5K presented by Academy Sports, Adults 5K, 10K, Miller Lite Half Marathon, Healthy Hig Half Marathon Relay, Full Marathon, and Ultra Marathon presented by Miller Lite. There will be no in-person races for the Kids 5K, Marathon, and Ultra Marathon. Proceeds from The Cowtown go directly to The C.A.L.F. Program.
COWTOWN C.A.L.F. (Children’s Activities for Life and Fitness) PROGRAM:
As part of The Cowtown mission to promote a lifelong love of fitness, The C.A.L.F. Program was created in 2009 to help tens of thousands of area children lace up and cross countless finish lines. This year, adhering to social distance protocols, we are providing virtual training to hundreds of North Texas schools. Courses in proper running technique, monitoring one’s heart rate, the importance of hydration, proper nutrition and living an active lifestyle are being delivered. We continuing to offer our school grant program as well, identifying low-income children and delivering a new pair of running shoes and socks through their school P.E. teachers. Through the C.A.L.F. program, we have made running a 5K race a reality for 42,000 children in the last 11 years.