By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The owners of the Bend Marathon were hopeful the event could be held in person this year.
But for the second year in a row, the race will be held virtually.
“We were really hoping to be the standard-setting event for Central Oregon for how we could move forward from COVID and do events outdoors together in a safe way,” Kari Strang, co-owner of the Bend Marathon, said. “So yes, we were really disappointed.”
Bend’s current emergency order forbids most large-scale events, despite the easing of state guidelines in Deschutes County.
The marathon’s organizers applied for a special events permit, hoping to hold the race with health precautions in place.
But Bend’s City Council voted 4-3 against it.
“That one didn’t happen,” Councilor Anthony Broadman said. “I’m hopeful we can have more conversations at the council level.”
Broadman – who supported giving the marathon a permit – hopes the council will adjust the emergency order to allow some events in the coming months.
“That emergency authority will be revisited,” Broadman said. “When it does, my hope is that it simply allows staff to issue permits when an event or organizer is complying with health and safety regulations.”
It’s tough timing for the marathon, which is held each April.
“Our event is unfortunately caught in the timing where we are getting hit with this twice,” Strang said.
Around 2,400 people participated in the marathon’s events in 2019.
“Even with as great last year’s event was, and with this event planned to be even better, it’s hard to replace what it feels like to actually be out there with others,” Strang said.
Despite the changes, Strang hopes the marathon will continue to be an event for the Bend community.
“We want this event to be something Central Oregon is proud of and is apart of our identity,” Strang said.