Denver Colfax Marathon Wins National Award
Denver Colfax Marathon was recognized with the Facility of Merit Award, presented to Creigh Kelley, Race Director, and Andrea Dowdy, CEO, at the 2021 National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition. The award recognizes a facility that has performed above and beyond normal operations to demonstrate an innovative approach to enhancing safety and security. The chosen facility may also have resolved a significant safety/security issue or incident.
Recognizing in late April ‘20 the dire economic impact on the small and medium sized running and walking events (under 10,000 participants that make up over 90% of all organized running and walking events in the US), Andrea Dowdy and Creigh Kelley collaborated on creating a safe model for staging events.
Not operating in a vacuum, they consulted with dozens of major event managers and scientists involved with COVID-19 studies throughout the US and the world, created schematics and written Guidelines to bring back the sport of distance running. These plans were presented and accepted by the Departments of Health at the State of Colorado and the City of Denver and were officially launched in August ’20. Thorough a rapid dissemination and communications plan through the good offices of Running USA, the Road Runners Club of America and Road Race Management, the Guidelines were an open source document that were quickly adopted or modified and used throughout the United States.
To formally provide a working example of a “safe” event, Colfax Marathon Events produced a successful 5K event (that sold out at 700 entrants) in October ’20. This model event became the recognized blueprint for hundreds of small and medium sized races across the country. This not only put our fellow event managers back to work but delivered a COVID-19 free experience.
As COVID 19 ebbed and flowed for the next six months, the Guidelines were updated and amended to provide the most current information and “best practices” through a State of Colorado non-profit (created by the Colfax Marathon Partnership, Inc), the Colorado Running and Walking Alliance.