Palace City Half Marathon adds guidelines for third annual race
The Palace City Kiwanis Half Marathon is sticking to what’s led to rave reviews during its first two years in existence, though it has made the necessary adjustments to make it suitable to hold during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A couple of months ago, committee members met to discuss whether it was feasible to hold the third annual half marathon. It feels it has the safety measures to pull off a successful race once again.
“We met a couple of months ago to discuss the fact we’re running a half-marathon at the height of a pandemic. So many races have been canceled and turned virtual,” committee member Marissa Lee said. “… We just thought it was very important to still have our race. We have different safety measures in place.”
The race starts at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, with the same course that starts and ends at the Corn Palace, and takes runners around Lake Mitchell. As of now, the race is near full capacity of 200 runners, while all 20 relay teams (40 people) have been filled. It’s the second year the half marathon is offering a relay.
The main difference for the relay is runners need to wear masks when riding on the buses going from the midway point to the Corn Palace.
Other changes include a one-minute staggered start based on pace to help separate runners. Also, volunteers will wear gloves and masks as they fill tables with water cups instead of passing them out to runners like in year’s past. At the finish line, runners will be handed their snack bag and medal at the finish line, rather than standing in line. There’s also no vendors in the Corn Palace at the finish line.
“People are going to do what they want to do, but we’re trying to encourage not a lot of standing around at the end and at the start,” Lee said.
A couple of runners did test positive for COVID-19, so they will complete the half marathon virtually at a later date.
But on Sunday, even with some guidelines in place, the race will resemble what’s made it a hit during its first two years.
“People love this race. I have heard nothing but good things about it,” Lee said. “People who are uneasy about doing a smaller race, or not sure because they haven’t done this one before. Five stars all across the board.”