Runners in the 2017 North Olympic Discovery Marathon cross Whitefeather Way in Sequim. This year’s event, NODM’s 18th, has been moved to “virtual” races with concerns of large group gathering exacerbating the novel coronavirus threat. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Runners in the 2017 North Olympic Discovery Marathon cross Whitefeather Way in Sequim. This year’s event, NODM’s 18th, has been moved to “virtual” races with concerns of large group gathering exacerbating the novel coronavirus threat. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

NODM canceled for 2020, goes ‘virtual’

The races are still on … virtually.

Organizers of a multitude of events under the North Olympic Discovery Marathon umbrella have decided to cancel all “physical” events slated for June 7, opting to hold “virtual” races in light of statewide restrictions banning the gathering of large groups of people.

Race director Victoria Jones announced the change on Sunday, April 12, noting that she and the Port Angeles Marathon Association Board of Directors made the call after “careful consideration” and discussions with medical partners and industry and business leaders.

“The Port Angeles Marathon Association (PAMA) values our running community and putting on this event each year is what we love to do,” Jones said in a press release.”

“PAMA wishes nothing more than being able to be at the finish line to celebrate our participants’ accomplishments. This unfortunate situation is beyond any of our control and what is important now is that we all pull together to do whatever we have to in order to get us back to a safe and healthy community.”

Runners break from the start of the 2017 North Olympic Discovery Marathon at 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn. This year’s event, NODM’s 18th, has been moved to “virtual” races with concerns of large group gathering exacerbating the novel coronavirus threat. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Runners break from the start of the 2017 North Olympic Discovery Marathon at 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn. This year’s event, NODM’s 18th, has been moved to “virtual” races with concerns of large group gathering exacerbating the novel coronavirus threat. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Jones said the marathon’s annual impact on Clallam County is an estimated $2 million.

“One of the most difficult parts of this decision was knowing the economic impact that the North Olympic Discovery Marathon (NODM) has on our small community that is already hurting,” she said.

The 17th-annual North Olympic Kids Marathon scheduled for June 6 has been postponed. The race director is working with the Kids Marathon Committee, Jones said, in hopes that the kids marathon can be rescheduled this summer or early fall.

‘Virtual’ runs

Going “virtual” won’t be breaking new ground for the Port Angeles Marathon Association: the organization created and hosted the year-long Run the Peninsula running series that included a virtual race option for each of the races (Railroad Bridge in Sequim, Jamestown S’Klallam in Blyn, Elwha Bridge in Port Angeles and Larry Scott Trail in Port Townsend).

Runners reach the finish line at the Race the Peninsula series’ Railroad Bridge 5k/10k in Sequim in 2019. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Runners reach the finish line at the Race the Peninsula series’ Railroad Bridge 5k/10k in Sequim in 2019. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Those who have already signed up for the 2020 North Olympic Discovery Marathon can convert their entries to a virtual run, meaning they can run on their own course at any time. Participants submit their results online.

“We encourage participants to use all social media platforms to share pictures of their accomplishment; this is how we really can come together during this challenging time,” Jones said.

The Port Angeles Marathon Association will prepare a personal race package and mail them to all participants the first week of June; race packets include race bib, running shirt, drawstring gear bag and medal. Also included will be a “thank you” coupon good for 20 percent off the 2021 NODM race, NODM organizers said.

“We are excited to be able to offer a virtual event to all of our participants for 2020 and for everyone to be a part of a positive solution as we navigate through this unprecedented time,” Jones said.

If the statewide “Stay At Home” order is lifted by June 1, NODM organizers will set up and mark courses so participants can complete their races on the NODM “home course (see course map and details at www.nodm.com/course).

Learn how to do a virtual race online at www.nodm.com/virtualrace.

NODM registration fees cannot be reimbursed, race organizers said, but those registered have three options: transfer their registration to different events, donate their fees to PAMA, a nonprofit organization, or defer registration fees to the 2021 NODM event with no defer/transfer fee cost.

There are two remaining Run the Peninsula events in 2020: the Larry Scott Trail 5k/10k/half marathon in Port Townsend on Oct. 17, and the Jamestown S’Kallam Tribe 5k/10k on Dec. 5.

Participants who have registered for the NODM pasta dinner and massages will be refunded for those add-on features, race officials said.

“Fighting this pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint,” Jones said. “Make sure to keep a safe distance, stay healthy, and let’s all cross this finish line together.”

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