Tell us more about yourself and the author team.
I am a primary sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery. As a runner myself, I am very interested in the medical care of the running community. Our team comprises other primary sports medicine physicians and PhD researchers interested in running.
What is the story behind your study?
Our hospital is the official medical provider of the New York Road Runners. The largest running club in NYC. When we first discussed returning to racing and what modifications should be made given COVID, the question came up of what runners actually want. We had our concerns as the medical team but did those concerns align with the concerns of runners.
In your own words, what did you find?
We found that runners do what to return to racing. The main concerns are the crowded corral, both at the start and finish, and the amount of COVID cases in a race location. Decreasing the numbers of participants, extending the start wave, wearing masks in the starting and finish corrals were modifications that many runners wanted.
What was the main challenge you faced in your study?
There were two. One was timing. We have learned so much more about the spread of COVID since our study, mainly the lower risk of outdoor transmission. Also, vaccines and even regular testing were not available at the time of our study. Second, our study population is mainly concentrated in the NYC metro area, which was an area particularly hard hit early in the pandemic. It is difficult to know if the results can be extrapolated to other areas of the country/world.
If there is one take-home message from your study, what would that be?
Runners will return to racing, and some simple modifications would make them more comfortable.