Mackenzie Bryan, Campus Carrier reporter
The 13th annual Berry Half Marathon is scheduled for May 22. The event is presented by Business Water Solutions and will offer three distance options, including the Half Marathon, 10k and 5k.
The event is Berry College Elementary and Middle School’s (BCEMS) primary fundraiser, which aids in providing technology for classrooms and tuition assistance. In the last 12 years, 16,000 participants have provided over 75 students with access to technology and tuition assistance.
“This is our opportunity to mingle with the community, but also get the school some resources that will be great help in the classroom,” said Brenden Bergin, pre-race director.
Typically, the Berry Half Marathon is held during the college’s spring break. This year’s event was originally scheduled for Mar. 6, however due to the ongoing concerns and precautions related to COVID-19, the event was postponed to May 22. BCEMS race directors along with Berry agreed upon a later date in order to provide time for local and statewide COVID-19 numbers to decrease and thus provide a safer environment for participants, fans, volunteers and staff.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for Berry College’s assistance for the opportunity to hold this race every year and for allowing us to do it in May this year,” Bergin said. “We are thrilled to get back to running in a safe way, not only for our volunteers and our staff, but also for the participants and community coming in.”
In efforts to reduce crowds and promote social distancing, BCEMS has coordinated with Berry College to create safety policies and procedures. Unlike previous years, there will be no Fun Run and changes have been made to accommodate social distancing for packet pick up, as well as pre-race and post-race procedures.
According to the race’s website, one major change is that the starting line will be staggered to space out participants, so there will only be 50 people beginning the race at any given time. Those participating will be required to wear face coverings both before and after the races, and those volunteering at the event will be required to wear a mask throughout their time at the races. There will be sanitation stations at the start and finish line of the race. Additionally, there will be no results area. All results will be uploaded to the race website as well as posted on social media. By implementing these safety procedures, the race directors are confident it will allow participants to enjoy the event as much as previous years.
“It gives participants an opportunity to experience Berry, which a lot of individuals in our community have not been able to do because of the closed campus,” Bergin said. “We have runners from all over Georgia and other states, who will get to come here and see Berry for the first time and experience one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.”
To learn more about registration or race day information, please refer to http://www.berryhalf.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, the full list of COVID-19 safety policies and race changes can be found at http://www.berryhalf.com/2021-covid-19-policies-procedures/.