What We Expect in 2021
Much of the fate of 2021 events relies on the status of the pandemic, and the level of adaptation by the industry.
The State of the Industry:
- In-Person Events are increasing. Creative modifications to traditional race setups and increased information about the risks of outdoor interactions mean that the number of in-person events is rising. Over the weekend of November 6-8, there were 95 in-person races of over 100 participants on RunSignup.
- Larger Events are finding success. In-person events over 1,000 are still the exception, but we are seeing some leaders demonstrate ways to hold them safely. Both the Richmond Marathon and the Wheeler Mission Drumstick Dash are hosting races of more than 5,000 in November, each with unique modifications.
- Marquee Large Events are still stalled. While small races are rebounding, large keynote events scheduled for Spring 2021 are likely to follow the lead of the Boston Marathon and cancel, postpone, or go virtual.
The State of the Virus:
- Cases are rising. Across the country, case counts are increasing. While recent restrictions have been more targeted, uncertainty remains.
- Outside events are safer. The consensus of the medical community is that the air flow outside makes it a safer environment, especially when combined with other distancing or mask modifications.
- A Vaccine is Coming! The big news is the Pfizer Vaccine with early indications of a high level of efficacy and safety. While it appears to be the closest to dissemination, there are also eleven other potential vaccines in late-stage trials, meaning more than one vaccine may be available by early 2021.
- Roll-Out Will Be Gradual. A vaccine means a gradual resumption of normal. It won’t be an instant switch but rather a tiered approach, creating a period of variable levels of immunity throughout communities – some of whom will be ready for events earlier than others.
Bob's Prediction Corner
Based on our internal evaluation of virus trends and vaccine timelines, we expect the situation to improve by March, with live races returning gradually across the country. By Q3 or Q4, we may even see some larger races returning. There are many sources of COVID information out there, but these are three that Bob has been using to better understand what to expect in the running industry.
Want to track the virus like Bob and draw your own conclusions about a recovery timeline? These are the links he referenced.