With pandemic restrictions slowly being eased and allowing many businesses to begin limited reopening, there is still one industry on the outside looking in.
“It’s been tough to get by for endurance event planning,” Jamie Monroe said.
Monroe runs Easy Day Sports, in Coronado, which, during normal times, organizes 15 annual running events. They include the popular Carlsbad 5k, the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon and the Crown City Classic, held in Coronado on the Fourth of July.
This past pandemic year, though, the group has been limited to offering virtual events online.
“At some point, someone’s going to go, ‘Oh, the event industry is getting overlooked here, there has to be a way we can safely do this — that will engage the community and get everything back to normal,’ ” said Monroe, who has organized endurance events for seven years.
In California, there are nearly 8,000 endurance events put on every year, generating more than $1 billion in tourism and economic activity, according to the coalition.
Those events also generate more than $70 million in charitable contributions. For example, the Thrive Half Marathon benefits the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
“Every weekend in Mission Bay, you have the 500 person 5K, where everyone donated $50 so that a specific charity can have its budget for the next quarter or the next year, and all of those have been cancelled,” Monroe said.
For now, outdoor endurance events are still prohibited per state reopening guidelines.
“Live events are basically at zero, and right now, we’re in a holding pattern where there is no path forward,” said Dan Cruz, who has helped promote some of San Diego’s biggest racing events and is now a member of the California Endurance Sports Coalition.
“In fact, 42 other states are allowing and permitting live events like triathlons and half marathons,” Cruz said. “A race director from California organized a half marathon in Lake Havasu, Arizona, last week.”
The coalition has started a petition in an effort to get the attention of state leaders. Cruz said the coalition met with state legislators last month and filed a report with the governor’s office.
The petition can be found here.
“Outdoor, safe, socially distanced recreational events can happen and should happen, and we look forward to spurring that cause in Sacramento,” Cruz told NBC 7.