Lunartic 5K experiments with chip-time starts for running events

The Smithville High School cross country team will host the Lunartic 5K run with chip-time starts to help safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

SMITHVILLE — The Smithville High School cross country team is getting ready to host its fourth annual Lunartic 5K run at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at Smithville Lake.

This year’s event will be a little different as the Warriors get to test out some new safety protocols as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Smithville cross country head coach Alex Moore said the event will have a chip-timed start to avoid a mass of participants at the starting line. In place of a traditional starting time, each competitor’s time will begin when the individual crosses the starting line.

“We’re trying to create an event that people feel comfortable and safe competing at,” Moore told the Courier-Tribune during an interview in July.

Event coordinators have increased the number of school buses that shuttle runners to the starting line at the Smoke and Davey Trailhead, with the last bus leaving for the starting line at 8:20 p.m.

Because the run takes place under tree canopies and during nighttime hours, a headlamp, flashlight or other light and reflective wear are recommended for runners.

Parking will not be available at Smoke and Davey trailhead and all participants and spectators are asked to park in the parking lot at Sailboat Cove, the location of the finish line.

Moore said that he thought events like this one will help other running events, such as high school cross country races, figure out better ways to hold competitions in the safest possible way.

“I think that we’ll learn from one another,” Moore said. “I think some of it’s going to be just having the courage to step out there and have an event.”

Registration is $30 if runners are registered before midnight Thursday, Aug. 15. The fee is $35 at packet pickup. Proceeds benefit Smithville High School's cross country team, helping to fund another race during the season. Donations for the team will also be taken at registration.

Packet pick-up will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21; and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 22, at Smithville High School, 645 S. Commercial Ave. Packets can also be picked up before the race from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Sailboat Cove.

Those preregistered will receive an email the week of the race confirming registration and providing additional details for race day.

Sports Writer Mac Moore can be reached at 389-6643 or mac.moore@mycouriertribune.com.

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