The nonprofit Grizzly Activity Inc. announced this week that the small running organization will host a modified, limited fun run on Saturday, July 4, in Choteau.
The Independence Day fun run will follow a 3.45-mile course that is the same as the new COVID-19 4th of July parade route. There will not be a one-mile course this year.
The race will start at 8 a.m. in the parking lot at the Breen Oil bulk plant on the south edge of Choteau. The race organizers have made multiple changes to the race this year to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among the runners or the race volunteers.
Registration will be limited to the first 50 runners who preregister unless the state is in Phase 3 of the “Reopening the Big Sky” plan by July 4, when the participation cap would be lifted.
All runners and walkers will be required to pre-register by calling or emailing the race directors, Melody Martinsen (406-590-1644 or email@example.com) or Barb Bouma (406-590-5895 or 4Barb@3rivers.net). Runners will need to provide their name, telephone number and address, so that in the event of a COVID-19 transmission, the Teton County Health Department will be able to contact all race participants who may have been exposed.
Anyone who is feeling unwell or who has any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, chills, fatigue) or anyone who has had close contact with someone with these symptoms is asked not to come.
“We wanted to give people the opportunity to safely get out and enjoy a run in the open air, but at the same time modify the usual 4th of July race to comply with COVID-19 safety practices,” Martinsen said.
The big changes this year are designed to eliminate the need for people to group together around a registration table, to pick up T-shirts, bibs or door prizes, or congregate in any way. Runners will be encouraged to bring their own masks to wear at the starting line (and take off as soon as the runners thin out on the course). Runners will be requested to stay at their vehicles until just before the race starts and to avoid hand shakes, high fives or other close contact with each other.
Runners are encouraged to bring their own water as there will not be a water station on the course. There will be water in individual bottles available at the finish line.
To reduce touch surfaces and crowding, there will be no registration fee, no race bibs and no official times though the race directors will have a big clock set up at the finish line so runners can see and record their own times. A cash prize will be given to the top overall men’s and women’s winners.
Breen Oil and Tire and Main Street Express have donated a limited number of vintage fun run T-shirts from years past. These will be offered at the start and finish lines for a freewill donation with proceeds to be donated to the Choteau Fireworks Fund. These T-shirts are not dated, and runners will be encouraged to add their own unique imprints using permanent markers after the race. (No markers will be available on race day).
There are not public bathrooms at either the start or the finish of the race, and runners will need to make arrangements to move their cars from the starting line to the finish line before 9 a.m. as the parking lot at Breen Oil will get congested with parade entries, who must be there by 9 a.m. to line up for the 10 a.m. parade.
The course will be marked with traffic cones and painted arrows. Runners will start on U.S. Highway 89 (Main Avenue South) at Breen Oil and Tire. They will then:
•Run south on U.S. Highway 89 about .20 of a mile.
•Turn right onto 7th Street SW and run west to U.S. Highway 287.
•Turn right on Highway 287, run north to 1st Street SW.
•Turn left onto 1st Street SW and run west to 10th Avenue NW.
•Turn right onto 10th Avenue NW, run north to 4th Street NW (Benefis Teton Medical Center).
•Turn right onto 4th Street NW, run east to 7th Avenue NW.
•Turn left onto 7th Avenue NW and run north to the intersection with Main Avenue North near the Outpost Deli.
•Bend left and run north on U.S. Highway 89/Main Avenue North to the intersection with Airport Road (at the old Elk Country Grill building).
•Turn right onto Airport Road and run east (uphill) to 10th Avenue NE.
•Turn right onto 10th Avenue NE and run downhill to the FINISH LINE in the Choteau LDS Church lower parking lot.