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Blacktip Island Foil Man Race Will Social Distance Runners

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Eagle Ray Cove will be the site of the first leg of Saturday’s delayed Blacktip Island Tin Man mini-triathlon. (photo courtesy of Christina Mojarra)

Blacktip Island’s annual Foil Man mini-triathlon, postponed due to COVID19 quarantine orders in May, will take place Saturday morning with social-distance protocols in place, organizers said.

“Racers are eager to compete, but we had to find a way to do it safely,” Rum Runners athletic club president Kay Valve said. “We were going to do it remote on Zoom, but that seemed pretty hollow. What we’re doing instead is having one individual start every five minutes. This way racers can sort of see each other, but not get too close.

“We’ll also have marshals all along the course to make sure racers maintain their distancing throughout the race,” Valve said. “The big concern is one racer getting in another’s slipstream and getting a snootful of any kind of germs that person’s carrying.”

Racers had mixed emotions about the protocols.

“It’s not ideal, but at least we can still have the race in person,” Rocky Shore said. “We’re still racing against each other, just not neck-and-neck. The only other option was to cancel an island tradition. And at this point, we all really need a pick-me-up.”

As ever, the race will feature a swim across Eagle Ray Cove, a bike ride from Club Scuba Doo to Diddley’s Landing public pier, then a run to the Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort bar.

“We’re trying to keep things as normal as possible, or as normal as things get on this little rock,” race marshal Ernestine Bass said. “We’ll have GPS trackers on all contestants to ensure distancing, and proctors on motorcycles will be able to zip to the site of any distancing issues. If someone starts to overtake, they’ll have to run in place, with their personal timer stopped, to re-establish a safe distance.

“There won’t be any big, dramatic finish, but there will be adrawn-ourt award ceremony that’ll build lots of tension before the winners are announced,” Bass said. “We’ll set the trophies out by the pool and let the winners go get their own when their name’s called.”

Organizers said there are also protocols in place to protect spectators.

“There’s giant fans installed on parts of the course where people are likely to gather or where trees grow close to the road,” proctor Christina Mojarra said. “Any place where there’s a potential for low air movement, we’ll create our own wind to diffuse any potential airborne virus hot spots.”

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