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Registration for The Mid South gravel race opens October 24 and with it comes a set of new COVID-19 guidelines.
For the 2022 event, all participants, volunteers, and staff will be required to show proof of vaccination or negative test results taken within 72 hours of race weekend.
“The CDC states that vaccinations are effective in reducing the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19,” said race director Bobby Wintle. “This is the right decision to ensure we are doing
our part to keep everyone safe and for The Mid South to have an in-person event for 2022.”
More than any other gravel event, The Mid South has been caught in the crosshairs of the COVID-19 pandemic. The March 2020 event was held in-person in Stillwater, Oklahoma at the exact moment that the gravity of the pandemic settled across the nation. It would go down in history as the only marquee gravel race to happen in 2020, and not without controversy. Then, in 2021, The Mid South was canceled due to ongoing uncertainty about the pandemic. In a flip of the script, all of the other marquee races scheduled for later in the summer happened.
Wintle said that requiring vaccinations or negative test results for next year’s event was a logical conclusion to the ongoing situation.
“I want to talk about people doing amazing things, celebrations, but this is reality,” Wintle told VeloNews. “And it’s not going away. How can we be sure we can have an event? By requiring vaccinations. When we do that, we can move on. We can say, this is the biggest way we can ensure the safety of our participants and our community. We can finally stop talking about it and start talking about the event as a whole.”
While registering, participants will be required to check a box that indicates they understand that they are required to submit proof of vaccination or a negative test at check-in. Two doses of the Moderna NIAID or Pfizer BioNTech vaccination, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination must have been received at least two weeks before race day.
Registration for the 2022 Mid South will be open Oct. 24-31, 2021. Participants who registered for the 2021 event will receive priority registration for Randomizer selection Oct. 24-29, and registration will be open to the public Oct. 30-31. Randomizer selections will be announced Nov. 6.
Wintle said that the new COVID-19 guidelines are not only a safeguard to holding an in-person event but that they align with every race promoter’s overarching goal of participant safety.
“What we want to do first and foremost is we want everyone to be safe,” he said. “Whether it’s us picking them up off a muddy course or because it’s too cold, safety is number one. I think this is right there with it.”