Steve Boyle and Jeff Billing of 2-4-1 Sports were not sure what to expect when they decided to host the state’s first track meet since the coronavirus shutdown.The response was overwhelming, with 100 participants registering for the meet within 36 hours of Billing sending out his first email to promote the event.
“Track is Back” will take place Monday from 5-8 p.m. at Hall High School in West Hartford and is being billed as “the state’s first responsibly distanced track meet in the age of COVID-19.”
“We are excited about it,” Boyle said. “The question for us was ‘What can we deliver safely for folks?’ We want to stay on the right side of the curve and we feel good about the safety of the athletes who will be participating. The town has been very supportive of us and we hope to have a responsible track meet.”
Participating athletes age from 14 to 53 years old.
A majority of the athletes are from high schools all over Connecticut as well as some from Massachusetts and New York.
Also participating will be college athletes and adult amateurs.
The highlight of the evening will be the Elite 5K which will be the final event of the evening.
That race will feature top-flight runners, including former Olympian Donn Cabral, who competed in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics in the steeplechase.
Cabral was a two-time CIAC State Open and New England cross country champion at Glastonbury before going on to a stellar career at Princeton where he was an All-American in steeplechase.
Along with the elite 5K, athletes will compete in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters, as well as the 1 mile, 2 mile, long jump and triple jump.
There will be no hurdles, relays or field events which require any apparatus.
Everyone will be required to wear masks except when they are competing in their events, and the track events will be run in a way that assures social distancing.
“There will be four runners to a heat, running in every other lane,” Boyle said. “In the pack races we will have staggered start times and set it up so there should not be lapping. Hopefully, everyone will give us correct times so we can set up the heats properly.”
The heats are being set up solely on seed times and not being grouped by age or gender.
The meet was capped at 125 athletes and one guest per participant, though organizers are expecting fewer than 100 guests.
The hope is to make this a summer series of meets with other meets tentatively scheduled for July 13 and July 27.
“We can make this a series if people follow the rules,” Boyle said. “We know we can’t 100% guarantee it, but we can promise we are doing everything possible to make sure everyone is safe.”
For more information on the “Track is Back” event, go to http://241sports.com/camps/trackmeet/