I’ve been getting a few questions about whether AETR is going to happen this year.
I’m afraid that I don’t really have any idea yet. It’s far enough out that I’m hopeful that we’ll be through the worst of the pandemic, and that the AETR will happen. That’s certainly our plan.
But it’s all just too much in the air right now. As of 5PM on Saturday, 28 March, Alaska is under a shelter-in-place mandate, and things are still getting way worse. And because the AETR happens on the University of Alaska Fairbanks trails, we have to follow their rules for gatherings.
One of the biggest problems is the aid station. We’ve always tried to practice good hygiene there, but it would be hard to keep it clean and disinfected with all the things that many people touch. We could use disposable everything, but that makes the event pretty wasteful.
But it’s still a gathering of way too many people during a pandemic, even though runners out on the trail are generally practicing good physical distancing (what used to be called social distancing).
It would be nearly impossible to postpone AETR to later in the summer, since Fairbanks has so many running events, and I’ve always tried to not infringe on other ultras in Alaska.
If we cancel, we’ll certainly have some kind(s) of refund or deferral options. We’ll figure that out as we get closer to making a final decision. I’m trying to hold off on some of our bigger purchases, but can’t for too much longer.
In other words, I have no idea about whether AETR is going to happen. We’re on uncharted ground here. We certainly need to make a decision by 1 May, but I’m hoping there will be enough clarity to make a decision long before that.
If you have any thoughts about all this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, be socially responsible and stay healthy! And keep running!