IN races, fluids that are likely to carry infection are in the air. 

A NEW START : ''Races are not going to be the way they were,'' said Todd Henderlong., the owner of  Race the Region, a race series in Indiana that has been offering in person events since May.

Race organizers should, for instance, be setting up registration and packet pickup operations that require little or no interaction with race personnel, said Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease epidemiologist who advises companies on how to respond to Covid-19.

Well-spaced bins containing people's bibs and shirts might, for example be set up in an outside tent.

Starts will look different, too Mr. Henderlong said. To keep runners socially distanced, races cannot begin in the typical pre-pandemic way, with participants crowded shoulder to shoulder in a narrow chute, waiting for the starting horn. Instead -

Most races will be likely to employ some version of a time-trial start, meaning each racer receives an assigned starting time within an hour-long window, crosses the starting line alone or in company with a few other runners and, for the most part, races alone.

Spectators are not allowed to line courses  at these events. During shorter races, such as. 5Ks [3.1miles]. there will be no water stops along the way. Even in longer races, including marathons, Mr. Henderlong said, racers will generally be expected to carry their own water or sports drinks  and snacks.

If liquids and refreshments are available on the course, they generally will consist of. single-serve bottles and energy bars or gels set out on tables, ready for grabbing, without volunteers' handing or hurling them to runners.

Likewise, finish-line areas will be eerily empty. No beer tents or buffet tables. No congratulatory hugs hugs. No awards ceremony.

''For the finish walk-off, we pre-pack goody bags that include snacks, bottled water and Gatorade. Then we ask runners to leave the event area when finished running,'' said Virginia Brophy Achman, the executive director of Twin Cities in Motion, which organizes the annual Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and-

Until recently, offered in person 5K races. [Its upcoming races will be virtual, because of rising case numbers in Minnesota.]


Runners' racing strategies and practices also will - or should - change. Most events and will require masks, for instance.

At the Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon on Saturday, one of the few longer events scheduled to take place this fall, participants will receive neck gaiters as part of their race packets, said Randy Accetta, the race director.

They must wear it or another facial covering at the start, whenever they pass another runners en route.

[A recent, unpublished study of masks and gaiters concluded that three-ply cloth masks and gaiters block close to 60 percent of expelled aerosoles during coughing, if the gaiter is folded into a double layer.]

Racers should plan, too, to carry a handkerchief and keep their mucus and spittle contained, said Bert Blocken, a professor of civil engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and KU Leuven in Belgium, who studies airflow, including currents of cycling and running events. In such races, he said ''it is well-known that saliva and spit flies around.''

Since those fluids could contain infected virus particles, runners should not spit or blow their noses into the air, he said, and people should steer clear of any racers who do not comply.

In fact, distance and isolation are desirable throughout these races, he said. If you pass other runners, try to swing at least  six feet wide, and preferably 15 feet or more, since respiratory particles are unlikely to float that far.

The World Students Society thanks author Gretechen Reynolds.


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