CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — The 23rd annual TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race was set for this Saturday, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers made the decision to cancel this year’s race. Instead, organizers launched a unique way to bring the community together for the beloved event through its first-ever “Start at Home” social media campaign.
Despite the new, safe outlet for the race community, the Cape Elizabeth Police Department says they’ve recently discovered that many people plan on running the course route on Saturday. Race and town officials are strongly discouraging running the course, especially in a group format. So, organizers and town officials are sharing a message with race participants: “do NOT gather to run the race course on Saturday.”
“We realize our race community is passionate about the TD Beach to Beacon 10K but we cannot stress enough to runners, please do NOT gather to run the race course on Saturday,” David Backer, president of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K said.
Police say running the course presents several safety concerns. First, they will be unable to control traffic.
“During the regular race, we have dozens of law enforcement officers in town to shut down roads, direct traffic, and control the over 10,000 runners and spectators that come to town,” Cape Elizabeth police said in a Facebook post. “We are unable to have any specialized traffic control this Saturday, which leads to a more dangerous situation with runners coupled with the busy weekend summer traffic.”
Police are also worried about large groups of people running the course due to the public health crisis and safety precautions that should be followed—the reason the race was canceled in the first place.
Cape Elizabeth Town Manager Matthew Sturgis explained they are asking this “in compliance with CDC guidelines and in the best health interests of the runners and for public safety reasons.”
Police said, “The state is still in the midst of a public health crisis and it is imperative that members of the public do not intentionally or unintentionally create a risk to themselves or other people.”
Parking is also an issue.
“On a normal Beach to Beacon race day, many parking areas, including several acres of private property, are utilized to park the thousands of vehicles that come to Cape Elizabeth,” police explained. “Shuttle buses are utilized to ensure the smooth transport of people to and from these parking areas. Without these parking areas, there is very little space for people to park legally without causing traffic issues and concerns for emergency vehicle response.”
Families and individuals are encouraged to instead participate in the “Start at Home” online event by creating their own “start line” or other TD Beach to Beacon-related artwork using chalk, paints, or whatever medium they choose. Then take post a photo to the TD Beach to Beacon social media channels—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—by August 1, the date the race would have been held this year.
The TD Beach to Beacon 10K team will narrow the selections down to the three most creative entries and then let the community vote on the overall favorite. The photo with the most votes will be used as the cover images on the TD Beach to Beacon’s social channels for a week during August and posted on the race website.
Race organizers have planned additional events including the launch of a video celebrating the race on August 1 along with other activities on social media during what would have been race week, and throughout the month of August to keep runners, volunteers, and the community engaged and connected.
“We hope the TDB2B running community will find other ways to mark the day and we will plan to all be together for the official race in August of 2021,” Baker said.
For more information about the "Start at Home" event, click here.