Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is "proudly and happily coming out of the gate with a virtual event for 2021."
"With the state of the pandemic, where we currently are right now, we realized that the expectation of putting on a full in-person live event in May of 2021 is highly unlikely to happen," says Run Ottawa Executive Director Ian Fraser on Thursday, October 29.
COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa, and across the province, have residents sticking to close contacts within their households and skipping in-person family gatherings.
"So I'm not sure how you can make the extrapolation to toeing the line with 35,000 of your best friends seven months down the road from now," adds Fraser.
The Run Ottawa director says he was very happy with how the 2020 race weekend turned out aftre the pandemic forced it to go virtual, and he thinks organizers will be able to build off that experience this time around.
"[Having] a lead time to create programming and to work with our participants to get them to their goals in the spring is part of [the decision to go virtual]," explains Fraser. "Our [running] community is going to need all that kind of support as we go through this pandemic. This is a challenging time for so many people, and I don't think it's going to get significantly better for a while, so we want to be part of that solution."
Plus, Fraser thinks this puts race weekend in the advantageous position of being able to switch to a live event, should that become possible.
"Internally, we have a really good handle on how much time we would need to pivot into a live event, should that happen."
Fraser expects to announce open registration for the 2021 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend later in November.