By Zach Giroux for The Island Eye News
The Charleston running community can look forward to a popular annual event not being canceled or virtualized by COVID-19 in the coming month. The Bohicket Half Marathon and 5K has gained approval to hold the event in-person with adherence to strict coronavirus precautions.
The race, created by the Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club in 2011, has changed over the years. In 2018, the race was lengthened from a 10K to a half marathon. This year’s ninth running will look vastly different to ensure the safety of all participants and staff.
On Oct. 27, the Seabrook Island Town Council unanimously granted a temporary use permit for the Exchange Club to host the race.
However, the acceptance was contingent on the condition that the town’s Emergency Ordinance 2020-06 is not violated with respect to social distancing, along with other COVID-19 safeguards.
“We’re approving it because there are very strict protocols for the pandemic and how to handle the crowd and mask and everything,” Council Member Jeri Finke said. “Council is not signaling, by approving this temporary use permit, that everything is a free-for-all going forward.”
The credit for keeping the race alive and preventing it from succumbing to cancellation like a slew of its contemporaries, including the Cooper River Bridge Run, goes to race founder Pat Welch, a well-known local entrepreneur who first came up with the idea to help raise funds for the Exchange Club.
Prior to making his plea to the Town Council, Welch had already received approval from the South Carolina Department of Commerce in conjunction with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Council Member Patricia Fox commended the Exchange Club for doing a thorough job to ensure that the race met all of the state requirements.
For the race, slated to start at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, rain or shine, all runners will have their temperature checked before the start.
The following safety practices will be in place for all who partake:
• Each runner will receive a gaiter provided by Cooper River Bridge Run.
• The starting area will be divided with caution tape into five 6-foot lanes and then marked with lines every 8-feet crosswise.
• All on course water and Gatorade will be served in unopened 12-ounce bottles.
• Bathrooms will be professionally sanitized after every use.
• Five wave starts will allow 1-minute distance between each wave of runners – 40 to 50 runners per wave.
• Refreshments will be provided on the Boardwalk with proper social distancing observed.
Awards will also be presented in a socially distanced fashion.
If the run is canceled for any reason, all participants will have the option to defer to 2021’s race at no additional charge or elect to run on another date if the race is rescheduled. A refund may be requested, subject to a $5 processing fee.
Packets for race participants can be picked up Friday, Nov. 20, at Fleet Feet in Mount Pleasant from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and again on Saturday at the race site – 1880 Andell Bluff Blvd. on Johns Island, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.
For more information, visit bohickethalf.com/home/about-us.