Runners urged to give space to others but encouraged to keep exercising outdoors

Runners urged to give space to others but encouraged to keep exercising outdoors
WatchWith more sunshine in the forecast many will be out and about this weekend soaking it in. But some say runners are making them feel unsafe. A new study says that they may be leaving dangerous droplets in their path. Julian Kolsut has this story.

Runners and others exercising outdoors near others are being urged to give others space, but are encouraged to keep at it.

Concerns have been growing about runners passing others too closely and potentially spreading COVID-19.

“We are getting cut off by them, and they are definitely like a foot away from us,” said one concerned pedestrian told CHEK.

And they may be right to be a bit worried. A study from the Netherlands, which has has yet to be peer-reviewed, says that it is possible runners leave a slipstream of droplets behind them.

The study can be found here.

But the province’s top doctor says the chances COVID-19 could be passed on through outdoor recreation is low.

“First of all somebody would have to be sick with the virus, or at least have the virus in their saliva,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry on April 7.

“It’s not transmitted very easily outside. So that’s why our distancing is important, but having somebody run by you quickly is an unlikely way this would be transmitted.”

Running groups say those heading out should take extra steps to keep others safe.

“Avoid those peak times,” said marathon runner Roy Styffe.

“Being aware of what’S going on is really important. Maybe pull off to the side. Maybe call out, it’s a fine idea to use your voice. And I am getting out further into the field closer to Sooke to make sure I’m alone.”

Styffe says some of his fellow runners have faced some judgment, and that there is some tension on the trails due to distancing.

“You’ll see an issue when it’s tightly packed, and you can feel almost like a bit of road rage happening.”

Styffe was supposed to be in Boston running in the marathon, but it has been postponed until September.

“I have been running 10-years, the last two years more intensely. I had to qualify for it, running the marathon here in Victoria. It’s disappointing and very frustrating,” Styffe said.

But on Sunday he will make his own marathon, running all the way from Sooke to Victoria starting at 10 a.m.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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