Fort Worth, Texas – A longstanding Fort Worth tradition is back with some changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its 43rd year, The Cowtown returns to Fort Worth on Saturday, May 8 for one day only, rather than a traditional two-day event. Heidi Swartz, executive director of The Cowtown, planning this year’s event was extensive.
“The start line normally, we start at 1,500 runners at a time. They go off in big groups. This year because of COVID and social distancing, we are spacing runners six feet apart and we are only starting four runners at a time. It will be a rolling start,” Swartz said. “So, there will be four runners starting every four seconds.”
With more than 6,500 people expected to complete their runs in-person and 3,000 completing it virtually, Swartz said it will take them two-and-a-half hours to get all of the in-person runners on the racecourse this year.
The in-person event Saturday will include runners participating in the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Healthy Hig Half Marathon Relay. The full and ultra-marathons are virtual this year, but all runners had the option to complete their runs virtually.
They must complete their run by June 30, 2021.
“They will create their own routes from wherever they want, run their distance. Once they complete it, they will submit their results through our app and our website and then we will mail them their finisher medal and all their runner goodies,” Swartz said.
Lucia Najera-Gartman of Fort Worth plans to complete her 5K and half-marathon challenge virtually and tells NBC 5, she has a family event Saturday which conflicts with the in-person race.
“It’s different, but it’s available so I’m just excited to do it. I did all of the training with a training group, so I’m prepared to run,” Najera-Gartman said. “I plan to go outside, probably the Trinity trails and you just figure your distance. I plan on inviting some friends and a couple of them are running with me, not the whole distance but they’re going to do five miles. Another will do four miles with me.”