Sportstats Launches Canada’s First Physical Distancing 5K

May 28, 2020

The first event in the country opens up in Ottawa, and it could be replicated nationwide

A physical distancing 5K isn’t like a race before COVID-19. For one thing, runners can only compete in the race one at a time. However, official timing will be present and racers can have their finishing time automatically posted Live on site and on the Sportstats web site.(Sportstats is the largest race timing company in North America and races use their technology, for instance, to inform participants if they’ve qualified for the Boston Marathon or reached a new half marathon PB).

“We know that runners miss racing. We’re runners, too,” says Marc Roy, CEO of Sportstats, which times more than 1,300 annual races, including the biggest events in Canada, such as the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Ottawa Race Weekend, the BMO Vancouver Marathon, the Quebec Marathon, and many more. “I’ve been working with all of our partners on hosting virtual events, but I kept thinking that there had to be a way to build the real thing. So, we worked with the city and opened up a race course in front of our office!”

Sportstats is based in Ottawa, and the 5K loop begins at their headquarters, 155 Colonnade Rd. South. It’s a 5K loop that spans sidewalks and bike paths and the city has deemed this racing model to be safe. We are using Mylaps side antennas enabling us to set up the timing system indoors to detect participant’s race bib—and bibs are being set out to competitors through the mail—runners are able to compete on the race course entirely on their own with no contact.

Marc and his business partner Isabelle Fradette have been testing the format for a few weeks to make it 100% self serve with 0 Contact. What’s more, the event in Ottawa is replicable, and Sportstats can ship its equipment to any organizers or groups all over the country interested in hosting their own race. iRun magazine, the largest running magazine in the country, a Sportstats property, is sending the race hosting opportunity to its database of 65,000 runners on Wednesday morning, May 27.

Starting June 1, we could have Physical Distancing 5Ks in every corner of the country. On Friday, May 29 at 3:00pm EST, Roy is going to demonstrate how the Physical Distancing 5K works. We will create a Youtube Video of the process and this will be included in each participant’s confirmation email.

For more information or to register visit: https://raceroster.com/events/2020/32028/physical-distancing-5k

“The coronavirus has completely upended our business and races worldwide, but it’s also made clear how passionate runners are for competition and events,” says Roy. “I know the Physical Distancing 5K is no replacement for great Canadian races and doing what we love. However, if we can make just one runner happy, I’ll know that we at least did something to provide a little comfort in this trying time.”

For more information, contact Ben Kaplan, editor of iRun magazine: 416.617.4670