August 17, 2021
On your mark. Get set. Wait, hold on. Have you been vaccinated?
The Philly 10K is less than two weeks away, and 3,800 runners who (hopefully) trained all summer will be asked to clear a hurdle before they can take their place at the starting line.
In light of Philadelphia's new mask mandate for unseated events with more than 1,000 people in attendance, participants in the 6.2-mile race must show either proof of vaccination – a photo of your card will suffice – or a negative COVID-19 test taken no earlier than 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 26 before receiving a bib.
Runners will not have to wear masks while racing through South Philly and Center City on Aug. 29, but will be required to wear masks before the race begins, upon crossing the finish line and inside the post-race festival area, except while actively eating or drinking.
"Since we're an outdoor recreation event, there's a little more nuance that goes into this, because, obviously, running and racing and having a mask on can be very challenging for runners," race founder Ryan Callahan told PhillyVoice. "So we engaged (the city) to kind of say, 'Hey, can we have a clearer picture of what this means?' And it was during that time where they told us that we would need to have masks and vaccines required."
To curb crowd sizes, spectators will not be allowed to gather at the start or finish lines, according to Callahan. The race founder "strongly" encourages that anyone who plans to watch family or friends run wear a mask, but don't expect a masking policy to be strictly enforced along the route.
"It's 6.2 miles. I can't go and stop a person (without a mask) standing outside watching," Callahan said.
The Philly 10K is Philadelphia's first major race in more than a year. As the city and country try to mitigate a surge in new COVID-19 cases spurred by the highly contagious delta variant, the policies in place at the race could set the tone for the Broad Street Run on Oct. 10 and the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 21.
With races elsewhere — like the New Jersey Marathon — opting to cancel due to coronavirus concerns, Callahan said most Philly 10K runners have welcomed the new safety policies.
"They're excited that the event is going to happen," he said. "Most of the feedback is people just being like, 'Oh, thank God.' … People are just excited to have clarity."
The Philly 10K begins at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 29 at Eighth and South streets, and the course ends at Fifth and South streets. Runners must pick up their bibs at Philadelphia Runner (1711 Walnut St.) between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Aug. 23-28. Bibs will not be available the day of the race.
Registration is open through 11 a.m. Aug. 26. There's also the option to participate in a virtual run. For more info, visit the race website.