** River to River Relay 2020 Postponement Notice **
All entries, roster numbers, and starting times will be the same and simply rolled to 2021. Team managers do not need to do anything further at this time. The Team Roster Information submittal page will be left enabled so contact information for team managers can be updated by teams moving forward as needed.
There is not a need, however, for team managers to continue to submit or update runner information. At the appropriate point in the future we will send out a notification when it is time to start that process again.
This tough decision was made after much thought, consideration, and discussion under the backdrop of the lighting fast changes of the COVID-19 situation on a national level.
The Relay would have been bringing in runners from all 50 states as well as some foreign countries. Runners would have been coming in from many areas around the country that already have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and where medical professionals are recommending social isolation until further notice.
So, while having the event on April 18th, 2020 had already really become unpractical as of this past Thursday, the Governor of Illinois’ recent directive to limit gathering sizes officially put the idea to rest.
We then turned our attention to the feasibility of moving it to a different date in the fall like many other races appear to be doing such as the Boston Marathon. This national emergency is still evolving and nobody has any idea when things around the country will get back to “normal”.
We all hope (and maybe suspect) that will be sooner rather than later, but as of today there is no factual basis for that assumption so any event plans for a summer or fall race schedule are simply wish thinking and a guess.
That could change tomorrow, next week, or next month, but we have to make decisions based on the best information available to us at the time so runners can plan their travel arrangements and race calendars.
We went ahead, however, and worked through the logistics of a fall race in the event this national emergency would resolve itself in the relatively near future to a point where fall events would be able to occur. Unfortunately, we quickly ran into human and physical resource conflicts that would have seriously called into question our ability to conduct a viable event.
We did not feel that a “poor” event was better than no event at all but certainly understand others might feel differently. A certain minimum level of human and physical infrastructure is needed to conduct an event like the Relay and we did not foresee when we could have any certainty that would be available for a fall event. All the while runners would be anxiously awaiting Relay information so they could determine their fall race schedule.
Additionally, we had the concern about what we might be doing to other races and their events. Assuming the national emergency is over and events can occur this fall as normal, there is already a full race calendar for runners and race director’s alike. Add to that all the races from the Spring and Summer now scrambling to try and reschedule for a small window of a month or two in the fall and it would appear races would simply be cannibalizing each other.
This does not do anybody any good and certainly does not feed the narrative that we need to making decisions for the common good across the country right now. There are only so many runners, so many volunteers, and so many race dates in the fall.
If the calendar was reversed and this national emergency was occurring in the fall the Relay would not be happy with other races trying to make up all their events in April causing runners to make difficult decisions about whether or not to participate in our event.
While we were confident that the dedication of runners to the Relay would result in many choosing our event over others (thank you if you would have), that would not have occurred in all circumstances and it certainly does not feel like the right position for us to put runners or other race director’s in during these difficult times. We all need to look at the big picture and support each other during this chain of unprecedented national events.
We appreciate all the supportive messages for the Relay in the last week and wanted to be as transparent as possible with regards to our thought process while making these incredibly tough decisions. We certainly understand there may be differences of opinion but that is to be expected anytime such a situation presents itself with no clear historical precedent to base decisions on.
We have already started working on the April 17th, 2021 Relay, and as promised in a previous Relay update earlier in the week, it will be more fun than a barrel full of monkeys and the best one yet!
Team Managers, The River to River Relay Organizing Committee has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Relay until April 17th, 2021.