Thursday, June 4, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Coronavirus scrambles the schedule

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, June 4, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Covid-19 continues to infect the running race schedule locally, pushing some events to later dates and others to virtual venues.

That doesn’t mean you get the summer off from running. It just means you may get the summer off from racing.

Here are some of the latest changes:
  • The Freedom 5K is changing holidays, moving from its usual July 4 date to Saturday, Sept. 5, the start of the Labor Day weekend. The race is still planning to run over the Cape Coral Bridge, and information on the event can be found via the Cape Chamber of Commerce website. (The race website was being blocked the times I tried to get to it, but hopefully that will be rectified shortly.)
  • The Gulf Coast Runners’ usually summer schedule has gone virtual, but you can still participate, post times and compete at a safe distance. In fact, they are offering a special price on a package of all three events – Global Running Day on June 3, the Firecracker 5K around July 4 and the Tropicool 5K around Aug. 15. They have a very complete guide to their virtual events at, so check it out.
  • The Independence Day 5K has also gone virtual, with a twist – compete within a certain time window and you could win prizes, or compete when you want and just have the satisfaction of the run itself. Details at
Another coronavirus casualty is the Wheel Lee Fun safe cycling program for kids, four one-week courses that should have run from mid-June to late July.

Staying with all things Covid, there still have been concerns about social distancing, mask wearing and exercise. This issues seem to fall in two camps:
  • The rules in general involving masks and exercise.
  • Concerns about runners leaving a trail of viral exhalations in their wake.
  • Cyclists passing too close to nearby pedestrians.
So, in that order:
  • According to the New York Times, few cities nationwide require mask-wearing while exercising – as long as an appropriate distance is maintained. It is recommended that exercisers have a mask on hand in case they run or ride up on a situation where they need to interact at a less-than-appropriate distance… but not to wear during normal exercise when six or more feet is maintained between people. If you’re exercising inside or in a crowd, perhaps masking is worth it – even though it’s harder to breath and traps heat and humidity from your breath, both things runners and riders already have an abundance of when outside in Southwest Florida.
  • The risk from runners? Low if you keep enough distance, both around and behind someone. Some studies have suggested increased the safe-space buffer to double the recommended six feet or more, but there’s not substantial research back that up or refute it outright.
  • The same goes for cyclists: Keep six feet away and limit your exposure, and there’s not a lot of risk expected. Some bikers have adopted a “Four D” rule – Double the Distance (from six to 12 feet) and Don’t Draft (following another cyclist closely to enhance aerodynamics).
Obviously, avoiding other bodily fluids from exercisers – sweat and spit, in particular – is recommended regardless of virality. And runners or riders should respect both their fellow exercisers and passersby by refraining from rude behavior and masking when necessary.

Nobody wants to get sick, after all, be it coronavirus, cold and flu or whatever else is out there.

Ready to ride or run?

Keep checking the usual websites for updates… be prepared to sign up, but also be prepared to deal with postponements if the rules on gatherings don’t change.


Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

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Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at 

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