Gourdy’s Approach to Events


return to running events

Gourdy and our race staff are eager for the return to running events this fall. While 2020 is in the rearview mirror and won’t soon be forgotten, we’re excited to get back to doing what we love: putting on a great 5K and celebrating our favorite season with you! We know that there are some people who are just as eager as us while others aren’t quite ready, as well as a bunch of people somewhere in the middle. That is why we have spent a lot of time developing fluid processes and options to help get us back to where we left off at the end of 2019.

This blog post was originally written in January 2021 and will be updated as needed throughout the year. It outlines various options you have for keeping the fall tradition alive, transferring, deferring, and so on. It also gives an overview of how we will manage location-based events later in the year. Overall, we want this to help reassure you that we are taking the necessary steps to provide options for a fun, safe event and ensure you have a great experience, whether it be in person or virtually!


Update August 2021:

We are thrilled with where we are as a nation in terms of returning back to events. As of August 2021, we are still full speed ahead and ready to bring back the race experience you’ve come to love: smiling faces, energetic environment, and a smooth experience from start to finish! 

Outdoor events have been studied extensively and deemed extremely safe. We will always monitor the evolving pandemic, but are confident that getting outdoors, going for a run, and breathing fresh fall air is great for you! Of course, we will always abide by local guidelines. Further, if you aren’t comfortable in a social setting, consider the Virtual Run so you can keep the fall tradition alive from the comforts of your own neighborhood!


Planning does begin in early winter each year, so some things that changed during the planning process that will remain this year are:

  • Staggered wave times for farm/orchard locations. This is what we used to do a long time ago and is actually a great thing regardless of social distancing. Farms/orchards tend to have more narrow paths, so having people spaced out in waves throughout the morning actually improves the experience! Urban events such as Akron and Indianapolis will use a traditional mass start with waves every couple minutes over the course of a half hour as they are held in city streets and are quite wide.
  • Water on course. We made the decision to remove the water station on the course early on. It’s something we’ve debated over the years. Why? It’s volunteer-intensive, creates a lot of waste, and, most importantly, isn’t heavily used. We will have water in your post-race goodie bag at the finish line and you can, of course, bring water on your run if needed.

Read on below for our original posting we made in January 2021. This will give you an idea of our preparations and how we plan to continue adapting. Then, get out there, get some training in, and we’ll see you at the start line this fall!

stay safe at the 5k

Flexible Registration

The first thing you should know is that once you sign up for an event, you have tremendous flexibility on how you use that registration. It used to be that you would sign up for a race scheduled for X date and you were locked in. While there are certainly merits for this kind of policy due to the immense upfront costs in event planning, there can also be some wiggle room. We’ve looked at ways we can stay flexible with registration options while not sacrificing the event budget too much and are happy to present some great choices for you this year!

In a nutshell, upon registration, you have secured a spot for fall 2021. Once you have that spot reserved, these options are available to you:

  • Keep your spot and run with us come race day
  • Transfer to a different location
  • Transfer to the Virtual Run
  • Defer your spot to 2022

There are three very important things to remember:

  • Waves and events can fill up. When you go to sign up, you will choose a wave (i.e. your start time). These are limited to certain sizes, so once they fill up, you won’t be able to move into a different wave. Best thing to do is to sign up early for the best wave selection!
  • You must transfer or defer at least 3 weeks prior to your race. Keeping the immense organization costs we bear in mind, we have to finalize all registrations for each location-based event ahead of race day. This 3-week window allows us just that, so if you decide you want to transfer to the Virtual Run or defer to 2022 you must do so at least 3 weeks in advance.
  • If you are signed up for the Virtual Run and want to transfer into a location-based event, you must do so prior to August 15, 2021. Please note that if the location-based event is at capacity, you will not be able to transfer.

These options are designed with you in mind. We suggest signing up now to secure your spot and wave time. As we move through the year, you can easily manage your options up to 3 weeks in advance of the scheduled race! Scroll down to the bottom of this page and read the ‘How-To’ section for all the nitty gritty details!

Fall 5k 2020

Race Day Experience

Each event location is different and will be tailored as such. Further, we are working with local guidelines, so those are different for each city as well. We want to provide a fun environment while adhering to local guidelines, so below is an outline of things we may incorporate. Again, and we cannot stress this enough, the COVID-19 pandemic is ever evolving and seemingly changes day to day. As we get closer to race week, the most up to date guidelines and precautions will be included in the official Participant Guide. The guide will be emailed to all registered participants as well as posted on the event website.

If you ever have any specific questions, feel free to email us: [email protected] . As described above, it’s best to wait until we are closer to fall as the landscape will likely be much different than it is now (hopefully in the right direction!)

Below are examples of what precautions could include. Once again, this is a very fluid situation and we will be implementing these accordingly on an event by event basis closer to race date based on local guidelines at the time. Therefore, the examples below may or may not be implemented based on that:

  • Wave start times with a rolling start at farm locations

  • Staged areas with rolling start groups based on speed for downtown locations
  • Wave and corral sizes that will be based on current group gathering guidelines and increase as allowed

  • Considerations on course (widened paths where available, signage for safely passing others on course)

  • Elimination of the water station (please BYOW if you need water during your run)

  • Streamlined packet pick-up with options for Friday pick-up, race morning with extended times, and Mail My Packet

  • Separate finish line tent to receive your medal(s), banana, water, pumpkin, and apple cider

  • Staging all areas to provide more social distancing when available

  • Safety measures for all volunteers and race staff

  • Hand sanitizer available

  • Face covering policy in accordance with local guidelines
  • Setting participant/volunteer/race staff expectations not to attend if they feel ill, have a fever, or have been around someone that has recently been diagnosed with COVID-19

The above is not an exhaustive list and, once again, is very much subject to change as the event nears. We truly hope that we can be back to more normal looking race day by the fall but will always follow the local guidelines as they progress. Further, many of our standard safety protocols aren’t listed above, which include EMS on-site, training volunteers and race staff for the day, proper use of gloves when handling things such as apple cider, and more.

outdoor 5k

Understand Your Level of Comfort and Exercise Your Options

We believe outdoor events can and should return in a safe manner. They provide so many positive benefits and we’re excited to help bring them back! As mentioned above, everyone will have their own comfort level and should do what they think is right for them. While we will always abide by local guidelines, we understand that as they ease, your comfort level may not follow in lockstep.

To help illustrate what race morning may look like if restrictions are gradually eased:

  • Increase in wave sizes
  • Face covering policy based on the most up to date local guidelines
  • Allowance of friends and family to cheer you on at the finish line
  • Sponsors, vendors, and other partners that help create a festive post-race celebration

If we’re getting closer to the event date and things are progressing faster than you’re comfortable with, we’re glad to offer options to defer your registration or even hop into the Virtual Run! The next section outlines how to do that and provides the cut-off dates. We want to create a fun, memorable race day and ensure your comfort and safety.

Running with a pumpkin


We hope by now you’re excited to train for your 5K and understand you have a bunch of options when it comes to managing your registration! The following will help in the event you need to make changes:

How do I switch to a different race location or to the Virtual Run?

  • Sign In to RunSignup account
  • Go to your Profile
  • View your events under Upcoming Events
  • Click Manage Registration next to the registration that you are editing.
  • Click Transfer to Another Race menu located on the top OR left of Race page.
  • You will be shown the details for transferring to another Race
  • Select the appropriate Race and click Start Transfer
  • Follow the steps to complete the transfer (you must go all the way to the end and submit it—you will receive a new confirmation email as well!)

***If you added any add-ons during your original registration (i.e. Tough Pumpkin, Crewneck Sweater, etc.), you must add these on during the transfer again. You will have credit for these that will be applied as long as you re-add them. The only items you do not need to re-add are the Training Tank Top and the Training Shirt since those ship out right after you order them***

How do I defer my location-based event registration to 2022?

  • Sign In to RunSignup account
  • Go to your Profile
  • View your events under Upcoming Events
  • Click Manage Registration next to the registration that you are editing.
  • Click Defer Registration
  • Please confirm the information is correct and accurate. You can confirm deferral by clicking on the “Confirm Deferral” button.
  • Next year, you will receive details on how to use your deferral

What is the deadline to transfer or defer?

You must transfer to another race, transfer to the Virtual Run, or defer to next year at least 3 weeks prior to the race you signed up for. Once inside the 3-week window, you are not permitted as we will be expecting you on race day!

What if the event is canceled?

We are very hopeful that all events will take place as scheduled. However, if we do have to cancel the event due to COVID-19 issues, we will offer options to you. They likely will include transfer to the Virtual Run or deferment to 2022. Again, due to the immense costs with organizing an event like this, we cannot offer refunds as stated during registration.

I signed up for the Virtual Run. Can I switch to a location-based event?

You certainly can but there are some things to note. You must complete the transfer by August 15th (we begin shipping Virtual Run packets soon after). Also, if there is a difference in price, you will be asked to pay the cost during the transfer. If you wish to transfer to a location-based event from the Virtual Run, simply follow the steps in the first ‘How-To’ above!

Can my friend take my spot?

Your race registration is exclusively yours and cannot be transferred to another person.

Beyond the transfer how-to’s above, you can manage a bunch of other aspects of your registration including your Lightweight Tech Hoodie size, wave time, and more by simply logging into your RunSignup account. As always, if you cannot complete any of the steps, please email us: [email protected]

gourdys pumpkin run


I hope they’re pumpkin spice flavored!

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