Mile Matters by J&A Racing
After 413 days, J&A Racing welcomed runners back to the start line of a live event on January 30, 2021. A small field of 250 runners participated in the inaugural Sun Up to Sun Down Trail Race presented by Fruitive. While this event doesn’t compare to the thousands of runners typically welcomed to a race weekend in Virginia Beach, Virginia, it still provided the same sense of accomplishment to the ambitious few who tackled running a 5K every hour for 10 hours so they could earn the title of 50K finisher.
“For over a year, we’ve been anxiously waiting to host a live event. We were devastated when we had to cancel the 2020 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend just one week prior to the event due to COVID-19. Our staff of eight spent all of 2020 thinking of ways we could bring running to our participants’ homes. While virtual racing and challenges have allowed us to virtually connect with our participants, nothing can compare to being able to witness the joy of our participants as they cross the finish line,” said Jerry Frostick, J&A Racing co-owner.
Safety is the top priority for every event, but hosting a running event to meet COVID-19 guidelines takes additional planning and effort. In the state of Virginia, the latest executive order from the Governor’s Office allows 250 participants at a running event. As an additional safety measure, masks are required at the start and finish line as well as in all public gather spaces. To prevent group gatherings and to enforce social distancing, participants started in waves of 20 people. While runners proved they are eager to participate in running events again by selling out the event in less than a week, they also proved they want to participate in a safe and responsible way.
“The event surpassed my expectations in so many ways. You guys did a great job organizing everything and keeping us all as Covid safe as possible,” said a 2021 participant.
“We know that we can host safe events for 250 participants and that our model is ready to be expanded to large events as soon as restrictions are lifted by the State of Virginia,” said Amy Frostick, co-owner of J&A Racing. “While hosting a 250 person event is not a sustainable business model, being able to feel the excitement of race weekend gave our entire team a much needed energy boost to keep fighting for the return of safe live events. We are so excited to be back doing what we love.”