How the Quad Cities Marathon 2020 responded to COVID-19 Pandemic
About Quad Cities Marathon
Quad Cities Marathon is a marathon event held annually in Moline, United States of America. Since the first race in 1998, The TBK Quad Cities Marathon has become a Midwest favourite. Touching five cities, three bridges, two states, and one island this hometown favourite draws runners from all over the country for a weekend full of activities leading up to the big event on Sunday. In 2019, the TBK Bank Quad Cities Mel Foster Co. Half Marathon was recognized as the Best Half Marathon in Illinois by RaceRaves.
From a drive-thru packet pickup to street art, individual starts, and Beatles cardboard cutouts, the TBK Bank 2020 Virtual Quad Cities Marathon was prepared to entertain runners while executing a safe, colourful virtual marathon series in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those who were local or close enough to make the trip, several distance options were mapped out for runners to still experience a bit of what makes the QCM special. The start/finish line towered over runners as they began the designated routes from the Taxslayer Center parking lot in downtown Moline. The QCM committee wanted to offer several pre-measured courses for runners to enjoy if they didn’t already have a planned route. Participants had the opportunity to run east or west along the river and cross the Centennial Bridge into Iowa. Street artists from Quad Cities Arts arrived days before the event to paint mile markers along the routes.
Several pacers reported to the start line between 6 a.m. and noon on September 26 and 27 to lead small groups of runners along multiple planned routes. Many runners arrived throughout the morning individually, in small groups, and from local and distant running clubs to run their individual distances. Other runners chose to start at different locations and end up at the finish line for that photo opportunity that they’ve been waiting for all year. Runners were greeted by cardboard cutouts grinning at them as they started and finished their races. Howell Photographic Arts captured hundreds of celebratory photos along the course and at the finish line between Saturday and Sunday. Proceeds continued to benefit the Us Too Prostate Cancer Initiative, Shoes for QC Kids, and Charity Bib Program.
Your Race, Your Pace
Runners crossed the finish line sporting the unique 2020 T-shirt with the sleeve reading “Your Race, Your Pace”. Last year’s slogan allowed participants to run from their destination of choice. In fact, 32 states and five countries had participants representing the Quad Cities Marathon.
After finishing their races, runners were encouraged to submit their times via the Quad Cities Marathon mobile app. Laughter echoed in downtown Moline as runners used the app’s customized selfie filters including a filter of a signature high-five from race director Joe Moreno.
“The virtual event was a huge success,” said Moreno, “beginning with the concept of going virtual, from graphic designs to sponsorships, website, race app, social media campaign, marketing, promotions, commercials, swag, packet prep and pick up, and finally, race weekend set up and operations. We learned so much about our organization, how to be creative, improvise, resourceful, yet stay within the pandemic guidelines.”
The 2021 TBK Bank Quad Cities Marathon will mark the marathon weekend’s 24th year since the first run. You can set your goals by registering for the 2021 race from here!