RunFAR Racing Services Supports The Woodlands Marathon for a Safe Return to Racing
March 1, 2021
(The Woodlands, Texas) One of the last major events in Texas before the pandemic, the 10th annual The Woodlands Marathon (TWM) – with guidance from governmental entities, health authorities and life safety personnel – is set to happen on schedule as one of the largest in the Lone Star state since last year. RunFAR Racing is the event’s timing and logistics provider and is assisting with both planning and day-of event execution.
“We are extremely excited to lead the charge on an event this size for a return to racing,” says TWM race director Willie Fowlkes. “The pandemic has paralyzed the endurance industry and our team is ready to present a race for the running community in a healthy and safe manner. Safety is always our number one priority in producing events with this one having more layers and protocols.”
Fowlkes, also the race director of the Texas 10 Series, has already tested out the event’s safety protocols and comprehensive plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at three of his Series races – Conroe in late November, College Station in late January and Bridgeland the first week of February.
“Our race crew overlaps between Texas 10 Race Management and The Woodlands Marathon Management,” added Fowlkes. “Obviously, it will take a larger team to produce The Woodlands Marathon, so these events give us a great landscape to offer staff an opportunity to get it right come race day.
“Runners overall have been relatively pleased with the protocols and are very understanding. They seem very grateful for the measures we are taking and the live racing.”
In its fifth year with The Woodlands Marathon, RunFAR has worked closely with the event since last summer anticipating the return to a near capacity race. “RunFAR is very excited to again provide the technology and data management support for the 2021 The Woodlands Marathon (TWM),” says, Raul Najera, President & CEO of RunFAR Racing Services. “As a timer, we’ve had more ‘touches’ to in-person events and the experience is invaluable. We’re able to consolidate the data and provide clear and concise safe protocols for in-person events.” In addition, RunFAR has doubled-down on live race-day apps to increase the number of communication avenues to the participants.
The Woodlands Marathon has consistently listened and responded to its constituents – participants, permit-granting authorities, and sponsors – to ensure consistent year-over-year success.
Split across two weekends for the third consecutive year, reducing community and staff impacts while increasing multiple participation opportunities for runners and walkers, the event will once again feature a 5K and 2K family fun run on Saturday, February 27, 2021.
The first weekend, Saturday, February 27, 2021, will feature up to approximately 1,000 athletes while the following Saturday, March 6, the race venue will receive up to approximately 4,000 runners in the three events – the marathon, half marathon and the 10K.
New in the event’s 10th year is a 10-kilometer race that replaces the two-person and four-person marathon relays. The race was a staple of the original The Woodlands Marathon – long before the dominance of the half marathon today.
The marathon, half marathon and 10K will begin in front of The Woodlands’ Town Green Park and finish alongside the iconic The Woodlands Waterway, where the 5K and 2K will start and finish.
Some of the specific return to racing protocols that will be adhered to will include:
- +Expanded packet pickup to include three days before the marathon weekend, including two days complete with Expo vendors.
- Runners submitted expected finishing times during registration and were preassigned to groups of 160 runners, who will be socially distanced in the queue while continuing to wear their mask or face covering and released to start every two minutes.
- Athletes can remove their mask after leaving the starting chute and must place it back on before exiting the finisher’s chute upon their completing of the race.
- All water stations will be self-serve. Cups will not be handed to participating athletes.
- Post-race activities are eliminated. Finishers, though, will pick-up a post-race goody bag complete with their finisher’s items to allow them to continue to move on from the race site.
- Team tents will not be allowed.
About The Woodlands Marathon Management: On March 3, 2012 The Woodlands Marathon Management, LLC returned the marathon event to The Woodlands community that last saw its production in 1993. The Woodlands Marathon Management, LLC mission is to produce a world-class event while promoting healthy active lifestyles. The Woodlands Marathon Management, LLC wants to make a positive impact in the local community, Houston region and across the nation through the sport of running. The Woodlands Marathon Management has raised and donated over $1.2 million to local, regional and national non-profit and volunteer organizations since 2012.
About RunFAR Racing Services, Inc.: RunFAR is a team of positive, energetic people dedicated to the advancement of running and racing. Established in 2003, RunFAR is currently one the largest timing and results companies in the US, managing finish lines for over 225 events annually. A 22-year user of Race Director Scoring platform, RunFAR is an Elite RTRT live results provider and certified in Race Day Scoring and RaceJoy. Since its inception, RunFAR has been a leader of race technology and enhanced participant experience always looking to improve the quality of endurance events. Relationships are the key to grassroots growth continuing in the endurance industry. www.runfarusa.com