The Elite field at the River Bank 25k Run and other races will be affected because they needed to move their date to the fall

The rescheduling of the Amway River Bank Run to the fall will affect the number of elite runners for the 25K race, but organizers say that was expected anyway in an Olympic year.

"If it was May, we knew the Olympics would have an impact and we expect that will carry over and extend to the fall as well," said Greg Meyer, the elite athlete coordinator for the River Bank Run.

Race officials announced Friday the 43rd edition of the run would be rescheduled from May 9 to Oct. 24 because of the coronavirus.  

The upcoming Summer Olympics had already affected interest and availability in the elite field, said Meyer, noting that’s an every-four-year challenge for organizers. The Olympic contingent includes Aliphine Tuliamuk, a three-time women’s winner of the River Bank Run, and Molly Seidel, who was second last year.

Add in the fears of COVID-19 and the expectations have been narrowed.

"There's not a whole lot we can do about it," he said. "Yeah, it is basically starting from scratch (with the date change), but it's a one-year thing and we'll do the best we can. For the majority of people, this is a community run, the highlight of their running year, and that's something that won't change."

Last year about 3,700 competed in the 25K, won by Parker Stinson of Boulder, Colorado (1:13:46.44) and Emma Bates of Boise, Idaho (1:23:49.50).

Meyer has heard complaints from those who dislike the second Saturday in May for the race and may prefer the fall date. But he dismissed that.

"To me, the River Bank Run is really the rite of spring around here," he said. "Yeah, for some it's not the perfect timing. But you know what? For so many it's been just right. I'm not going to second-guess that."

The River Bank Run, with around 17,000 entries for its various events, is now like many big races pushed to the fall, including the Boston Marathon (from April to September) and the London Marathon (from April to October), while the Chicago Marathon remains set for Oct. 11.

posted Saturday March 21st
by Peter Wallner