To our Cellcom Green Bay Marathon family,
The short story: Safety has always been a top priority for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. To maintain this commitment, the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon is converting its 2020 race weekend to a virtual event. As we all collectively fight the coronavirus pandemic, we believe this is the only responsible way for us to hold the event. Participants who registered for marathon, half marathon, relay, 5K or kids’ run will be able to complete a virtual run, receiving their bib, medal and t-shirt and carrying out the miles safely on their own. If you are satisfied with the short version of the story and want to skip ahead, click here for details and instructions on your 2020 race options.
The rest of the story: We approached this decision with the care it deserves. We wrestled with it. We’ve lost sleep over it. There have been tears. Along with so many of you, we have watched the pandemic unfold, and have continued to brace ourselves for each new development. We have spent time monitoring the coronavirus situation, CDC guidelines and local, state and federal emergency orders. Our medical and public safety partners have provided us guidance and feedback about how their worlds have changed and how it will affect their ability to spend time building this year’s event with us. As we stand today, most of us are isolated in our homes, while these essential marathon partners are giving every effort they have to prepare and respond to the health crisis of our era. Even medical supplies reserved for the marathon have been reassigned to the cause. While they are fighting for the health and safety of our communities and for the greater good on a new, massive scale, we have received the clarity we needed to make this difficult decision.
Our hopes of being able to put on a celebration of life, health and each other in a gathering of thousands during the May 16th and 17th weekend of events, have dissolved. We have come to accept this new normal and its impact, and we share your disappointment. While we’re hopeful for improvement in the coronavirus outbreak in the coming weeks, the uncertainty and unknown impacts of the outbreak don’t allow us to safely continue to move forward planning an in-person event.
Why can’t you just postpone it?
We’re so glad you asked. We want you to know that we have thrown all options against the wall, trying to make something stick that would still allow participants to experience the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. Ours is a year-long planning and preparation cycle, and investments are made far in advance of race weekend. Much of the investment in the 2020 event cannot be undone. In our due diligence, we took a hard look at postponement options. In the Midwest, marathons are not held in summer or winter due to the regularity of unsafe heat or cold weather conditions, so fall is the alternative option. You can probably guess why we don’t hold our marathon in the fall. For Green Bay, fall means football season and Lambeau Field is dedicated to football, whether there is a home game or not. It has one job in the fall, and that is to set the stage for the most amazing football in the world.
We looked at pulling Lambeau Field out of the event and that creates new issues. The entire stadium district is buzzing with traffic and festivities all season long, again, whether there is a home game or not. Football season here, is otherworldly and sacred. Out of respect for this economic, social and cultural season and place, we would need to relocate our course not only from Lambeau Field, but from the entire stadium district. And that begins to change the very essence of who we are as a race and what we’re made of. We have committed to giving our participants an unrivaled course experience, and Lambeau Field is a big part of that experience.
Beyond this, we are starting to see the domino effects of coronavirus disruptions. One change provokes another, so that multiple dominoes begin to fall, leaving almost every variable changed. Here too, know that our event draws a national crowd from almost every state in the US each year, and draws in a global audience as well. You can start to see the how wide the net is cast. Postponement presented more roadblocks than we could overcome, and too, the length of this uncertain climate is a question itself. It is hard to predict what normal will be even after the summer and heading into the fall.
Moving forward: As athletes ourselves, we have done what we do when we face adverse situations. We work through it. We’re not done yet. You have a goal to complete, and we will continue to cheer you to your finish lines and your personal victories like we have for the past 20 years. While we won’t be able to physically be together, our running community is tight-knit, and we see you rising up stronger than ever. The thousands of people who bring the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon to life each year are like family. We know their hearts, we know their strength and we know we will all support each other in different ways this year. We look forward to keeping it fun and celebrating your accomplishments. We hope you will join us under the new intention we’ve set for ourselves: From a distance, we run together.
The details: Those who have already registered can choose to participate in the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon virtual run or walk (or whatever method of getting those miles in you choose. Strollers? SURE! Bring your dog? Absolutely! Wear headphones, sing and throw in some dance moves around mile 12? Yep, and please send us the video.)
The virtual race will allow participants to finish their training and the miles of their chosen event individually on race day, or any day of their choosing. Your race packet willed be mailed during the week of May 11th, and will include your shirt, finisher’s medal and race bib. We ask that you continue to adhere to emergency orders and social distancing recommendations advised by state and federal officials and find creative ways to make it special.
Those who do not wish to participate in a virtual run can defer their entry to the 2021 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.
If you would like to take part in either option you will need to take action here.
The Prevea Luv2Run program will not open this year, but anyone who’d like to be part of the full, half, relay or 5K virtual events can still register until April 20 while supplies last.
The Festival Foods Kids’ Run participants can look forward to their race packets coming in the mail before race weekend.
Participants will receive more information via email or can visit www.cellcomgreenbaymarathon.com.
Putting on the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon is an effort of thousands, and we thank each and every person who has been part of the marathon family as a runner, walker, volunteer, partner, sponsor, vendor and fan. Our thoughts are with our medical partner, Prevea, and our public safety partners as they work hard to keep our communities healthy and safe. We can’t wait to see you again, as we look toward 2021.
Maybe let’s set an early intention for 2021 right now: See you (in person) at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon finish line…
On behalf of the marathon board of directors and staff,
Thank you, keep running and stay well.