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For Quad Cities Marathon Race Director Joe Moreno, the week of the QC Marathon is normally one of the busiest times of the year for him and his race committee. But as the nation is still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, downtown Moline will look a little bit different this weekend.

“For those that haven’t run their virtual race, they’re welcome to come down to the Taxslayer Center,”said Moreno. “There’s going to be some tailgating going on and were going to have our start and finish aluminum structure.” Moreno continued saying that runners will be able to run a flat route both Saturday and Sunday anytime between 6am-2pm towards Rock Island and then back towards East Moline with socially distanced deejays and cardboard cutout spectators along the route. “We are doing everything we can to replicate a good experience that people would have had in a normal year.”

For Moreno and many race directors in the nation, this year has been anything but normal as virtual runs have become the new norm leaving directors with new expectations for their events. “Were right on target for the national trend,” said Moreno. “There seems to be a goal of getting 20% of your normal participants. We’re at 800 now and with a week left I think we are going to get that so I’m happy with that.”

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As Moreno went virtual for all of the events he and his team directed this year, he understood that many eyes were on him for direction on what to do and he feels he did the best he could given what he had to work with. “To the running industry, this was totally new and what this did was create challenges,” explained Moreno. “And with challenges comes opportunity and I think we’ve maximized on the opportunity and as the time went by we got a little more creative, most recently with the marathon.”

After the marathon, Moreno usually gives himself a few weeks off to relax before planning for the following year, but with so much still very up in the air for the future and the safety of traditional races, what 2021 will look like for he and his team will be on the tip of his thoughts ending this year. “Next year, it’s not very clear,” said Moreno. “It’s not like this pandemic is based on a calendar where on December 31st, it’s over and we got a new year. We don’t know and who knows, we might be in the same boat next year. So that’s kind of a scare but we learned a lot this year and we’ll be better prepared overall for everything in the running community for next year.”

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For more information to to register for the 2020 Quad Cities Marathon visit, www.qcmarathon.org

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