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(April 27, 2021) - As vaccination rates increase and understanding of the virus that causes COVID-19 transmission improves, there is a clear path towards a return to racing. That’s the focus of a new white paper for the running industry, which is being shared today for the first time by Running USA.
There’s much good news in this science-based document, authored by Dr. Brooke Nichols, a health economist and infectious disease mathematical modeler. Among her conclusions: Given the relatively limited risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission outdoors, coupled with mitigation measures, it is possible to race safely, with minimal transmission risk.
“This paper offers interim guidance on safely operating running events in the time period between the beginning of vaccine rollout in the United States and prior to full epidemic control,” writes Dr. Nichols, who has worked with numerous U.S.-based races on safety protocols for resuming live events.
“As vaccination rates increase across the country, eventually the likelihood of severe diseases and mortality will decline, as will the likelihood of transmission events. However, during this transition period between a pandemic phase and endemic phase of the epidemic, many mitigation requirements are still required to keep participants, staff, volunteers, and spectators safe.”
Download the white paper for insight on the suggested mitigation practices.
“Running USA is pleased to share this white paper with all running industry events to use as they work toward returning to in-person events,” said Dawna Stone, CEO of Running USA. “We are able to do this thanks to the generous support of four wonderful sponsors: the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Chicago Event Management, P3R and Brooks Sports.”
Dr. Nichols heads the research team at the Nichols Lab, a multi-continental group of quantitative scientists and modelers focused on bridging the gap between traditional clinical science, epidemiology, health economics, mathematical modelling, and actionable implementation. She is jointly appointed as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Medical Microbiology, AMC and at the Department of Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health.
She was appointed to the faculty of Boston University in 2019, and since 2020 has expanded her work to include SARS- CoV-2, currently chairing the global Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator’s diagnostic modeling consortium aimed at improving the impact and efficiency of rapid antigen testing strategies for SARS-CoV-2.
A Running USA hosted webinar with Dr. Nichols is set for Tuesday, May 4 at 10am PT/1pm ET and open to all. Questions for Dr. Nichols can be submitted in advance using the webinar registration form.
About Running USA
Running USA is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization devoted to improving the status and experience of distance running and racing in the United States through collective marketing and promotions, information and communications within the industry and to the national media, services to events and industry members, and the development of American world class stars. It seeks the advancement of the sport and the provision of value to each of its members' events and businesses. For more information, visit RunningUSA.org