COOS BAY — For South Coast runners, the third weekend in September means just one thing, the Prefontaine Memorial Run.
That event was cancelled as an official event in the spring, due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, but will still be celebrated next weekend as the 2020 Prefontaine Memorial Run “Covid-Style.”
The Prefontaine Memorial Committee and South Coast Running Club decided to hold a revised event with social distancing standards in place on Saturday, Sept. 19.
“We recognize the great excitement, pride of accomplishment and sense of community this event brings to Coos Bay each year,” the South Coast Running Club said in a Facebook post promoting the run. “These feelings are ever so important to honor and sustain in our challenging times.
“As organizations passionate about the sport of running, we don’t want 2020 to be lost to those who have historically participated in the Prefontaine Memorial Run, or who have just started exercising during the COVID pandemic and need a goal to pursue. We are certain that if Steve Prefontaine were still with us today, he would want to get out there and run. Let’s keep our Coos community healthy and active.”
Because of the pandemic, the run will look nothing like it does most years, except that it will follow the same route with a few minor modifications.
Among the changes:
There will be no course control or support (police escort, medical personnel, porta-potties or water stations) and the road will be open to traffic.
A waiver and prescreening registration will be held on the corner of Fourth Street and Anderson Avenue, the traditional starting line, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will be required to fill out the waiver form and be prescreened for COVID-19 symptoms, including a temperature check. Anyone with a temperature 100.4 or higher will be asked to return home.
The track at Marshfield, the traditional finish line, will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (runners are asked to make sure they start in time to finish by 2 p.m.). Runners will not be allowed onto the track unless they have the prescreen stamp on the back of their hand.
The wide range of time available for the event is to encourage runners to pick times to participate that won’t have them in groups. The traditional start time is 10 a.m., but officials hope runners spread themselves out over the entire range available.
Finishers will be asked to leave the stadium and cool down on Ninth Street — no post-run gatherings will be allowed because of social distancing guidelines. Also, no spectators will be allowed to gather in the stadium.