Because mass gatherings have been difficult for some time to come in the post-epidemic world, big sporting events are busy rediscovering themselves.
- Competitors are urged to adhere to social distance during the competition
- The Melbourne Marathon will be a virtual race this year
- There are fears that 40 percent of major event operators will not retain controls for another year
This weekend, Ironman Australia is hosting its first event on Sunshine Beach since March, with more than 1,000 competitors set to compete under the Govt-safe program.
Rebecca van Boose, head of operations, said organizers must submit more than 80 pages of approvals to Queensland Health.
“We place great importance on being in charge of the athletes and we work with us to ensure that Kovit is safe,” he said.
How is the COVID-safe race?
MS said the event will focus on physical distance, improved hygiene and touch point reduction. Said Van Boos.
He said athletes are forced to comply with the requirements from the moment they are verified.
“They all have to recommend 50 minutes so we can flow our athletes over a specific period of time to make sure they come. There will always be a 1.5 meter interval,” he said.
But with 1.9 kilometers of swimming, 90 kilometers of bike riding and 21.1 kilometers of running, it is practically impossible to ensure that the distance at each checkpoint is polished.
Athletes competing for the first time this season, including world champion Sarah Crowley – have voluntarily kept their distance, Ms Van Boose said.
Ms Crowley said her preparation for the event during the lockout was bizarre, but she hoped the tough competition would be limited due to border closures.
“Without any real competition, it’s hard to see where your fitness level is,” he said.
“Normally within a year I would go abroad, there could have been two high training modules and now three‘ Iron Men ’.
“We are very lucky that this is a unique game and we can really compete similarly without much change.”
Competitors insisted on keeping their distance
Competitors have been asked to limit contact with visitors and volunteers at help desks.
While athletes are asked to provide their own nutrition and hydration course, their families and friends are asked to keep their distance.
“We get a direct feed from the finish line so they can openly go and sit in a restaurant and look there and follow their physical distance plans,” Ms Van Van Boose said.
The Gold Coast Marathon had to be canceled in July.
Cameron Hart of Events Management Queensland, organizer of the Gold Coast event, said there were not many known people at the time.
“The impact on athletes and the reduction in international participation when borders were previously closed, made it impossible to hold an event on our scale,” he said.
The Nusa Triathlon and the Melbourne Marathon are two events that have faced a similar fate.
Melbourne Marathon Festival event director Marcus Gale said ongoing restrictions in Victoria forced their hand in stopping next month’s event.
“This decision was made after careful consideration of the rest of our priorities with the health and safety of our participants, staff, volunteers and the community,” Mr Gale said.
Virtual marathon new rule
The Gold Coast Marathon was a virtual race held in July, attracting more than 24,000 people from 60 countries.
The Melbourne Marathon will offer a virtual race in December.
“Exercise and especially running have significant positive health benefits, including mental health,” Mr Gale said.
“We look forward to continuing to support the Victorians and the broader running community at this time.”
Although the virtual events helped the participants stay healthy and active, the revenue for the event organizers was a huge success.
Events Management Queensland does not charge people to attend the July event.
There is a fear that 40 percent of all major event operators will not survive another 12 months without a contingency plan.
The Australian Mass Participating Sports Events Alliance (AMPSEA) was formed in May to help solve the difficulties faced by major event planners during COVID-19.
Members include event organizers and industry leaders, including former politicians from all walks of life.
Their goal is to get funding to keep the event industry alive.
AMPSEA also aims to work with relevant health departments to seek exemptions from COVID restrictions whenever possible.
“If we happen to run one person for every four square meters, it will be very difficult,” Mr Hart said.
“Many events are simply not possible because you can’t get the same number of people.”