Spa Running Festival Announcement:
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the running community have seen races they have planned and trained for in 2020 either cancel, defer or revert to a virtual platform. Even though the Spa Running Festival is still 5 months away, immediate decisions affecting the races are required and must be made in this uncertain environment. This requires some unprecedented actions to give us the best opportunity to host a live event on the regularly scheduled race date of November 14th, 2020.
As you know, the Spa Running Festival is unique as it runs not only within the boundaries of the city, but also through a National Park. What makes our courses beautiful also comes with some special permitting requirements not just from the city of Hot Springs, but also from the Federal National Park Service. These partners have been exceptionally gracious hosts for the last 39 years that our event has taken place and we believe the following steps will give us the best opportunity to host a race in the current climate:
The bad news first:
After much consideration, we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 running of the Summit 2 Summit Half Marathon. The anticipated social distancing requirements, logistics of the event, permit requirements, and attraction of runners from throughout the country (and a few international) makes this event unlikely to be COVID guideline compliant. We did not make this decision lightly and without ample contemplation; however, we feel that this proactive step is necessary to keep runners, volunteers, and the community safe from COVID-19 exposure.
Additionally, we will be cancelling the Spa Squirt Kid’s race and Spa Running Festival Expo that normally precedes the event.
Those that have pre-registered for the Summit 2 Summit Half Marathon will receive a separate email in a few days regarding their cancellation options, including a refund. Those registered for the squirt race will be issued a refund.
The better news:
With some adjustments, the 5K and Spa 10K events are still going to happen with a few possibilities of how those events may look:
Option 1: We run the 5K and Spa 10K on the traditional race routes. The starting line may require some changes, but you will still run thru and see the heart of downtown Hot Springs and the Spa 10K will still go over West Mountain. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and will do everything possible to make this preferred option happen.
Option 2: If permitting issues arise, we may have to alter the 5K or Spa 10K routes. This would mean you still get to race thru beautiful downtown Hot Springs, just on a different course.
Option 3: The Spa Running Festival 5K and Spa 10K races would become virtual. Participants will be encouraged to run their race distance on their own and would pick up their Long Sleeve Technical Shirt and Finisher’s Medal or have them mailed.
Given what we currently understand, if we are able to have a live event, we expect the elimination of on-course aid stations, the post-race food court, and the awards ceremonies. In spite of these necessary changes, we will do everything we can to make the Spa Running Festival resemble the exceptional race you have come to expect!
The best news:
2021 is the 40th anniversary of the Spa 10K and, also marks the 100th anniversary of Hot Springs becoming a National Park. We’re planning something special for 2021 with all of the Spa Running Festival races back and better than ever!
To stay informed about November’s event be sure to follow the Spa Running Festival on Facebook and Instagram and updates at sparunningfestival.com. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and keep you informed as we move forward in our planning of the event.
Thank you for your dedication and support of the Spa Running Festival!