You would think that after almost two decades of being part of the Quad Cities Times Bix 7, the area’s largest running event, race director, Michelle Juehring would be ready to make her debut this year. And even with the last two years being under the direct tutelage of now retired race director, Ed Froehlich, nothing could have prepared her for what was coming. “This is my first year that I’m on my own,” said Juehring. “I’d been planning for an in-person race, and then news started coming out about these street races that were having to change into virtual, be postponed to the fall or cancelled.
Being a world class race, things were already set in motion far before the COVID-19 pandemic swept over the nation for the Bix 7. So Juehring and her team talked about very specific plans on how to continue on with plans for this year’s event. “We started planning four scenarios,” explained Juehring. “Do we keep it as is, move it the fall, cancel it or switch to virtual?” After about six weeks’ worth of conversations, they came to the decision to make the 2020 Bix 7 a virtual run. “We feel the race that we have now still offers a competitive race and a safe and fun way to do the Bix. It’s different but it’s still there.”
As the Bix 7 is one of many races the Quad Cities has to offer over the course of the year, Juehring has always loved the healthy competition between the race directors to see whose event can be the biggest and best. But as the narrative switched from being the best to being in this together, she noticed something that showed just how special the QC running community is. “Other road races came together,” said Juehring. The tone changed and it was like how can we work together to understand what’s going on and how can we provide a safe platform for our participants to still participate.”
Over the last five months, virtual runs have become the new norm. And as many runners have grown used to running the events on the day and course of their choosing, for the Bix, it wasn’t all gold medals in the beginning. “We were one of the first that said we are going virtual,” said Juering. “And not everybody was on board and liked it. But by the time we had verbalized our decision, now we are in the thick of it in July and people are loving it.” Giving participants until July 25th to register, the full Bix 7, the Quick Bix 2 mile run or the Junior Kid’s Bix runs are still the choices you have to run and gives those that normally cannot participate due to volunteering at the event or being out of town an opportunity to be a part of this event. When complete your run, you can upload your time, see where you placed overall for your division and get a digital finishers certificate to upload to social media.
As for next year, Juehring is hopeful that things in the nation improve and has many goals for the 2021 Quad Cities Times Bix 7 race. “Right now, a lot of conversation on the national level with other races is how do you create safe touch points, how do you create, volunteers, participates and spectators can be a part of this in a safe way, “explained Juehring. “In no way will we put on a race if we can’t do that for everybody.”
And with her first Bix as official race director almost under her belt, Juehring is laser focused on making sure that everything she does is with the communities best and safest interests in mind. “My motto is forward is forward,” said Juehring. “We are so thankful that people are remembering and saying, hey we can still do this. We hope you do the virtual Bix and if you can’t do it this year, do another virtual race, support another origination. As a race director I see myself more as part of the race, I’m very thankful for the title but the Bix is more than just me, the Bix is the Quad Cities community.”
For more information or to register for the 2020 Quad Cities Times Bix 7 visit, www.bix7.com