TC Marathon will go on with COVID protocols in place

For the first time since 2019, the Twin Cities Marathon and other races will take place in early October, but the weekend will look a little different than usual. Several COVID protocols will be in place for runners and spectators.

"We had a great relationship with the Minnesota Department of Health and we all worked together to come up with strategies to make it safe," Twin Cities in Motion Executive Director Virginia Brophy Achman told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "We are doing a lot of things differently."

Among the changes, no bag drop for the runners at the starting area. Instead, they can drop off their dry clothes for after the race at the race expo ahead of time and pick the bags up at the finish line area. There will be staggered start times for runners and extra large start corrals. Masks won’t be required while running but will be required at the expo and in the starting corrals and finish line areas. Masks will also be required in any of the tents near the finish.

The co-medical director of the marathon weekend, Dr. Kevin Ronnerberg, says he’s confident it’ll be a safe weekend for everyone.

"That’s one of the things we’ve learned through this last 18-month period is that if you’re outdoors, you have fresh air, you know a little bit of a light breeze and you keep your distance from people, your risk of getting COVID or transmitting COVID is really, really low."

Runners like Mike McCarthy, who was out on a training run along the course Thursday as he prepares for the Twin Cities 10-miler, said he’s just glad to be able to run a race. He’s the pitching coach for the St. Paul Saints and accustomed to all kinds of COVID protocols in professional baseball.

"The fact that we’ve gone through this for two years now and the fact we’re just getting to run is really exciting," he said. "It’s an opportunity for the community to get out, to be active and a tradition that’s gone on in the Twin Cities for a long time."

As for spectators, Brophy Achman says she encourages them to come out but to respect social distancing from others. She also says they plan to put up a six-foot fence near the finish to discourage too many spectators in that usually congested area.

"That is a very high-density area and we just want to be really respectful of the guidelines, you know, that say try to reduce congestion," she said.

Earlier this year, marathon organizers decided to cut the number of runners nearly in half to keep it from getting too congested.

The Twin Cities Marathon and 10-miler will take place on Sunday, Oct. 3, with the start in Minneapolis and the finish near the State Capitol in St. Paul.