EVOLUTION Timing and Event Management is in the process of creating a wittily-designed "race" which implements the practice of physical distancing for runners who circumnavigate the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on a regular basis.
Due to continued restrictions on most sporting events, the organisation plans to utilise chip timing to measure individual times of runners utilising the Savannah. Chip timing is used to measure race results by registering a race chip as you run across radio-frequency identification (RFID) timing mats located throughout the race course.
The Savannah serves as one of the most utilised open-air facilities for hundreds of runners on a daily basis and is being looked at by the reputed organisation to aid in the gradual restoration of sport while increasing exercise awareness and friendly competition.
The company plans to use a duration of three hours to allow different runners to participate during separate time windows. Having made prior contact with Evolution Timing and Event Management, runners will receive their chip individually and connect to the RFID mats. They would then run their course, return the chips and then be informed via an erected screen on the distance covered and time taken.
All while practicing the Government’s physical distancing requirements. There will also be a limit to entrants to ensure all physical distancing stipulations are met.
Managing director of the organisation, Andreas Stuven explained, “We would set up a table and runners would receive a message/email telling them which tag to pick up from the table, so there’s no physical interaction. Each runner arrives and begins at a different time to maintain physical distancing.
“We will sit in a nearby vehicle with the computer while people do their distance and then dispose the chip into a designated box at the finish mat. It then goes into the washing machine overnight so the next day, they’re all clean and disinfected.”
Since the Government’s decision, on Monday, to allow members of the public to engage in restricted outdoor activities such as walking, running and hiking, several recreation grounds and community parks have returned to life with an influx of outdoor exercise enthusiasts.
Stuven believes this idea can be created into some sort of competition but it’s not meant to be an official race. Persons that come more than one day will use the same chip on their next visit, thus creating a personal record of their times and distances.
“It’s intended for people to get some encouragement to go and exercise. You can do it by yourself but we can give you the tools to compare yourself with friends who came an hour later or so. That is the idea,” he added.
Stuven revealed the idea came about while spending time with family during the Government’s stay at home orders. He installed timing mats in his backyard and allowed his kids to measure the amount of distance and time covered during their exercise routines. He then presented mats to neighbours who were easily convinced to measure their progress and compete against each other in friendly rivalry.
Stuven is planning to make contact with Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez to assess the possibilities of this initiative being rolled out. If successful, this could be a revolutionary form of long distance running forcibly implemented courtesy the global pandemic.
He concluded, “It’s not intended to break the health order or have people congregate in groups. It’s to support those people who are outside exercising and give them the opportunity to evaluate their efforts.”