Publication:

Kapiti News - 2021-10-13

Data:

Half marathon to go ahead

Opinion

Rosalie Willis

Organisers of the Ka¯piti Half Marathon have announced the inaugural event will go ahead on November 14 even if the district remains in the current level 2 restrictions. The announcement comes just days after the Wellington Marathon, due to be held this Sunday, was cancelled because of the current Covid-19 restrictions. Event director Bengy Barsanti said they now have a plan in place for the half marathon event to go ahead in level 2 and level 1. “Part of the announcements from the Government over the week have been about getting events back into New Zealand, removing the 100 person limit so long as people can social distance. The original plan was that we wouldn’t run the Ka¯piti Half in level 2. “But after looking at the number of events being cancelled across the country we got the team together for a brainstorm day to not only see if it was feasible but also if we should. “We have a moral obligation to keep people safe, but our job is also to put on great events. “We might have to live with level 2 a lot longer so we need to adapt. “We are adapting this event so that people can continue to enjoy running events and get back to some normality of life.” With experience running events, Bengy and his team also successfully put on Xterra Wellington Red Rocks last year in level 2 and are continually following the ever-changing guidelines being released by the Government and the Ministry of Health. “We are constantly assessing all the guidelines and legislation that is coming out, we are working with Sport NZ and their guidelines, along with the Ka¯piti Coast District Council. “We have contacted WorkSafe who are happy that we are compliant and have been in contact with the Ministry of Health who have not yet responded to our requests for clarification. “Although it looks scary, we are confident we can do this safely and start bringing events back to New Zealand. “We’re not trying to bend the rules to have an event, this is a strategic decision about continuing to inspire people into the outdoors.” The decision has been met with a lot of positivity from the running community and people who are excited to see event producers working out how to operate an event with over 1000 people in a Covid-19 world. However the announcement has been met with backlash from some social media users. “We have had a few conversations with people on social media who are hesitant, but all we can do is demonstrate to them we are being compliant, this is the way events are heading in the country, and we can do it safely. “If people decide not to come that is their decision and we understand that.” Bengy and his team will be releasing information about how the event will safely take place on their website and to those registered over the next few weeks. This will include information about different start times, social distancing, mask use during registration and QR codes for each wave of competitors. “A big part of this, as with all of the guidelines, are people taking personal responsibility just like you would when going to a supermarket. “You have to wear a mask and take responsibility to social distance down isles. “We can’t make people do that, but we will have everything in place for it to be possible.” Despite initial reservations about putting an event on for the first time, Bengy said, “We feel like we can deliver the event we want to deliver in a safe, compliant manner, while giving a great experience to participants, allowing them to be part of an event and a community that will bring them together. “We’re excited that we can give people an opportunity to run and be a part of that community again.”

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