As news broke mid-March that the Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine was issuing a stay at home order and closing most businesses, 5k races were cautious.
The initial group of races that cancelled or quickly rescheduled were those immediately impacted by the order. Other events further out were optimistic that we could get through the first four weeks and then we could start thinking about getting back to business. However, after Governor DeWine’s order on April 30 that we would be extending the orders until May 30, the trickle has now become a steady stream. Ohio 5k races are cancelling fast. Many are switching over to virtual and some who hadn’t started licked anything off already are now cancelling for 2020.
The running calendar for 2020 looks bad, it’s awash in cancelled events through at least July now. Many early fall events are looking at cancelling and not having to untangle a mess later. Retreat and wait to fight another day is the new mantra.
What is the fallout from all these cancellations? To the average leisure participant it might not be apparent how a small local event can have a huge economic impact. When you consider how many 5k events are held in Ohio each year, it’s going to have a huge toll.
Here is a short list of immediate casualties;
Firstly and in a big way, the many small local charities will have to cut out services they offer due to lack of resources. These events are planned fundraisers that are now going to realize little to no dollars for 2020 from 5k races.
So many small shirt printers exist throughout Ohio who now are out of business during this period, but may be out of business altogether.
Many timing companies provide the race infrastructure on race day to make the whole event work. They typically provide the finish line arch, PA systems, cones, mile markers and timing equipment. How many of these will still be around when the dust clears?
Love getting those little trophies at your local 5k? Those are usually provided by small, local award companies that make just a few dollars off of each award.
As we sit here today, the outlook is bleak. There are casualties all around and its not going to end soon in 2020. Our hope is that we can get through this soon and get back to doing what we love on Saturday mornings throughout Ohio.