PORT ANGELES — The North Olympic Discovery Marathon planned for June 7 is canceling its physical events and going virtual in light of the new coronavirus.
The marathon association’s board of directors made the announcement Sunday after consulting with medical partners, and industry and municipal leaders.
“The Port Angeles Marathon Association wishes nothing more than being able to be at the finish line to celebrate our participants’ accomplishments,” the organization stated in a news release. “This unfortunate situation is beyond any of our control, and what is important now is that we all pull together to do whatever we have to in order to get us back to a safe and healthy community.”
The event has had an annual $2 million economic impact in Clallam County, Race Director Victoria Jones said. More than 2,000 runners participated in the various races last year.
“One of the most difficult parts of this decision was knowing the economic impact that the North Olympic Discovery Marathon has on our small community that is already hurting,” she said.
However, for people who want to participate in some way, there is an option.
In 2019, a virtual race was included in the marathon in which people would run the distance of the marathon or other races “from anywhere at any time on their own course.” The marathon association is expanding on that idea this year and inviting anyone who was going to run on June 7 to run a virtual race instead.
“We are excited to be able to offer a virtual event to all of our participants for 2020 and for everyone to be a part of a positive solution as we navigate through this unprecedented time,” Jones said.
The marathon association will prepare a personal race package — race bib, running shirt, drawstring gear bag and medal — and mail it to all virtual race participants by the first week of June.
For participants who live close to the Olympic Peninsula and if Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order has been lifted by June 1, PAMA will set up and mark all courses so participants can complete their virtual race on the North Olympic Discovery Marathon course. Participants can go to the NODM website to view course maps and details (www.nodm.com/course).
A detailed description of how to do a virtual race also can be found at www.nodm.com/virtual race.
Participants also can transfer their registration to one of the two remaining 2020 Run the Peninsula events — the Larry Scott Trail in Port Townsend on Oct. 17 (5K, 10K and half-marathon) or the Jamestown S’Kallam Tribal Center in Blyn on Dec. 5 (5K, 10K).
People can also donate their registration fee, or they can defer their registration to the 2021 NODM on June 6, 2021.
All deferring fees will be waived. Registration fees cannot be reimbursed.
Participants who have registered for the pasta dinner and massage will be refunded for those add-on features.
The 17th annual North Olympic Kids Marathon that was scheduled for June 6 has been postponed. Jones is working with the Kids Marathon Committee in hopes that the event can be rescheduled this summer or early fall.
No new cases
In the quietest weekend for new COVID-19 cases on the North Olympic Peninsula in nearly a month, local officials are cautiously optimistic that social distancing measures may be having an effect.
However, they stressed the peak of COVID-19 cases in the area is still expected to hit in late April.
There were zero new COVID-19 cases reported on the weekend, leaving Jefferson County at 28 cases and Clallam County at 11.
“It’s kind of a feeling that, when everything was shut down, it takes three weeks” to see an effect, said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.
Locke said physical distancing measures seem to be working in urban areas such as King and Snohomish counties.
On Saturday, only 253 new cases were reported in Washington state.
“Social distancing does work,” Locke said.
Locke stressed that, while it was a quiet Easter weekend, residents can’t drop their vigilance about physical distancing.
Inslee’s stay-home order remains in effect until May 4.
“There’s no reason to believe that this is over,” Locke said. “The models show we’re not at our surge point yet. We’re several weeks behind Seattle.”
Locke stressed the county is still not able to do much testing as it would like to get a clearer picture of how many COVID-19 infections are really in the community.
“I still think it’s likely that mild illnesses are out there,” Locke said.
Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron, head of emergency services for the county, said that, from what he has observed, local businesses and residents are being vigilant about maintaining physical distance.
Cameron said it appears about 50 percent of people shopping in stores are wearing masks of some kind. The masks have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but they are not required.
“It’s tough, I know it’s tough, [but] we need to keep ourselves distanced,” Cameron said.
Jefferson County Commissioners will receive a weekly COVID-19 update from Locke at 9:45 a.m. today, while Clallam County will hold a COVID-19 briefing at 10 a.m. today.
The Jefferson County update can be viewed online at www.tinyurl.com/PDNJeffCo. The Clallam County update from Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank can be viewed at www.tinyurl.com/PDNClallam.