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Rock to Pier Run going virtual: What that means for participants

Posted at 5:58 PM, May 04, 2020

The Rock to Pier Run and Half Marathon is entering its 51st year. The race normally takes runners from Morro Rock to the Cayucos Pier, but 2020 will be a virtual race.

“This is new territory for all of us,” said Karen Sweeny, who is in her 18th year as the event director for the Rock to Pier Run and Half Marathon.

This year’s race will be unlike any before: completely virtual.

“You pick your day anywhere between July 1st and July 31st, and once you complete your event, you will submit your time. We will get those posted as they come in,” Sweeny said. “The idea of a virtual event is you can do it in your own neighborhood. You can run on your treadmill.”

Sweeny says the oldest and longest running race on the Central Coast normally sees north of 1,000 participants. Keeping social distancing measures with that number of people is nearly impossible, so going virtual was inevitable.

“We’re going to be sending out a start and a finish banner, along with mile markers,” Sweeny said. “So if you want to set it up in your neighborhood, get your family members to cheer you on as you run through your neighborhood, you can do it that way.”

The run is the biggest fundraiser for the Morro Bay Recreation Department, and those who have already signed up say the event is one they’ll do, regardless of the circumstances.

“This is something I felt like I could contribute to that community while also keeping the running community alive,” said Tyler Hoyt, an area runner. “The local running community in this county is pretty tight knit and familial. Some of these races have some pretty longstanding traditions with them.”

Though there have been awards given out in the past, Sweeny says the department is going a different route for this race.

“There will be a virtual banner, or something like that,” Sweeny said. “Every course will be different.”

Runners will submit their times via text or email when they have completed the race.

Registration for the event opened Monday morning and as of 4:30 p.m., 74 people had already signed up.