STILLWATER — Amid rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Stillwater and Payne County, The Mid South promoters have decided to pivot from a traditional in-person race to a socially distanced event, spanning three days and eight states.
The Incredibly Socially Distanced Mid South will take place March 12-14, 2021, but things will look different this year, Race Director Bobby Wintle said.
“We are partnering with eight shops, including District Bicycles, to build curated routes comparable to the routes we have created here, so that people can go ride and run in their backyards,” he said. “The idea is that they can still participate in The Mid South like they had planned, but they don’t have to travel from all over the country and the world to race.”
Each partner shop will create 100-mile, 50-mile and 50K courses for registered participants to ride or run at their leisure throughout the event weekend. Riders and runners can then present the completed course to any of the host shops to receive prizes from event sponsors.
Considering that there are a variety of courses in several states, the event will not be timed, and participants can start and finish at any time during the weekend. Participants also have the opportunity to win prizes from The Mid South, including cycling gear, future event entries, and
The Mid South promoters struggled with the decision to pivot event formats for weeks, Event Coordinator Sally Turner said. “We thought about postponing to the summer or fall, but we have no way of knowing if we would be in the same boat then as we are now,” she said. “In the end, we couldn’t, in goo conscience, ask everyone to travel to Stillwater and put themselves and our local community at risk of contracting COVID. There’s nothing we want more than to see everyone lined up here at 8 a.m. on March 13, but it’s just not worth it right now.”
While there still may be a visible increase in bicycles on Payne County roads that weekend, the risk of COVID spread is greatly reduced, Wintle said.
“Many of our participants are from Oklahoma and Payne County, specifically, but we aren’t hosting any kind of in-person event,” he said. “No expo, no food trucks, no finish line. We aren’t even closing the streets, and we will limit the amount of people allowed in District Bicycles at one time.”
For more information about The Incredibly Socially Distanced Mid South, visit www.midsouthgravel.com.