* The following was emailed to all registered 2020 Afton Trail Run runners and volunteers on Thursday April 23, 2020.
I hope that this email finds you and your family healthy and safe during these extraordinary times. In all honesty, these have been very stressful times for Cheri and I. We have been worried about our races, our business and our future. More importantly than that, we have been worried about our at risk parents and our fellow citizens. I am sure that you all are dealing with your own unique set of circumstances and worries, and we are thinking of you. We will get through this, and maybe we will even be better for it – strength through adversity.
The reason for my email today is to give you an update regarding the Afton Trail Run in light of COVID-19. I will start by saying that above all, our primary concern and the determining factor behind the decisions we make will be runner and community safety and health.
I know that many of you have been to the Afton website and have seen our more comprehensive updates that have primarily focused on two of our other races that we have already had to cancel this year, the Zumbro Endurance Run and the Superior Spring Trail Race. https://www.aftontrailrun.com/covid-19-press-release-4-9-20/ – I cannot tell you how hard it was to cancel these races and have to deliver those messages to our runners.
At this time the Afton Trail Run is still scheduled and we are continuing to monitor the situation – that said, due to all of the uncertainty, we did suspend registration for Afton back on March 16, until further notice. The Minnesota “Stay at Home” order is currently in effect through May 4 (although this could very well be extended). Right now, my gut tells me that unless things go better than expected, Afton is subject to being canceled. We are just over 10 weeks out, so we think that it is worth taking a wait and see approach for a little while yet. As much time and effort as it takes to host a race, it takes a significant amount of communication and coordination to cancel one – over the coming weeks we will continue to prepare to sanely and systematically carry out either scenario. During this time we will monitor the situation generally, while keeping in touch with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Afton State Park and other local authorities.
While I realize that participants coming from out of state would normally be making travel plans soon, I strongly encourage anyone that would be flying to Minnesota to not book anything at this time. If you are already booked I would advise reviewing the specific information provided by your airline – several airlines have been offering more flexibility / leniency in regard to cancellations and rescheduling. Participants should also familiarize themselves with the cancellation policies of rental cars and lodging / accommodations if either apply.
Obviously on the list of our collective priorities right now, racing does not rate real high. That said, at some point, things will start to return to normal, and when they do, we will be ready.
I will be back in touch. If in the meantime you have any questions, you can reply to this email and I will get right back to you. Until then, stay safe and be well.