The organizers of the Twin Cities Marathon on Tuesday announced COVID-19 health and safety protocols for this year's event, including a face mask requirement indoors and some outdoor settings.
Marathon weekend is Oct. 1-3, culminating on Sunday when runners in the marathon start in downtown Minneapolis and finish the 26.1 miles at the State Capitol grounds.
Runners will not be required to wear face masks when they're actually running, but face masks will be required for everyone (runners, spectators, officials and volunteers) in all indoor spaces and select "higher-density outdoor settings" during the event-filled weekend, Twin Cities in Motion (TCM), which puts on the event, said in a news release.
These outdoor settings include the "start area corrals," where runners congregate before the race, and the finish line walk-off areas.
“We take health seriously, we take safety seriously and we take COVID-19 and the delta variant seriously,” TCM Executive Director Virginia Brophy Achman said in a statement. “Our staff and medical team have been preparing for this event since the pandemic emerged.
"We’ve worked with the Minnesota Department of Health, an internationally respected crowd scientist and with local and national industry peers, including the Minnesota Running Industry COVID Task Force, to design the right safety measures for our event," Achman added. "We wanted to do everything we could to help our participants feel confident when they are at our event.”
The places where masks are required include:
- The Health & Fitness Expo at the St. Paul RiverCentre from Oct. 1-2.
- All indoor facilities associated with the event, including enclosed tents.
- On race transportation vehicles, including buses to the starting line.
- In outdoor start area corrals, where runners gather before the race.
- In outdoor finish line walk-off areas.
- In the registration and race packet pick-up area for the family events, the TC 10K and TC5K on Saturday, Oct. 2. This is due to most youth participants not being vaccinated, organizers say.
Other safety protocols for the weekend include reduced field sizes across all races, added space for social distancing, staggering arrival times, moving gear check drop off from the start area, using more open-air spaces instead of tented areas.
“We are asking participants, volunteers, and staff at the event to be considerate of others’ comfort level and maintain distance from people outside their household,” Achman said. “The running community has always shown fellowship and respect for one another, so we’re confident that spirit will prevail during this unique edition of the event.”
The Twin Cities Marathon was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It returns this year with more than 18,000 participants in the races Saturday and Sunday.
The weekend of events begins at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, when the Health & Fitness Expo opens. Races begin at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the State Capitol with the TC 10K followed by the TC 5K.
The TC 10 Mile will begin at 7 a.m. in downtown Minneapolis, followed by the start of the marathon at 8 a.m.
The marathon's website is here.