United Way 5K on the Runway: COVID-19 and Safety


Is it safe?

The question of the year for 2020! Is it safe to shop, to travel, to run outdoors, or to fly? Is it safe to participate in events?

If not today, then when? 

So many questions. As the Director of the United Way 5K on the Runway, I will attempt to answer the questions relevant to our race.

Is it safe to fly?

No this is not a running question, but the airport is very relevant to our race. So, I asked this question at our race committee meeting last week and Airport Director Andrew LaGala and Assistant Director Cedric Simon answered me with a resounding yes!

The Airport team has spent countless hours cleaning and ensuring our airport is safe for travel. For more information and to read about the safety measures in place to ensure riders can be confident to fly, go to:


Is it safe to run outside?

Yes, getting in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to brisk exercise can help your immune system keep viruses at bay. And 30 to 60 minutes is ideal training for a fall 5K race. Then continue training over the winter, so you are ready for the inaugural United Way 5K on the Runway.

Should I wear a mask on runs?

It is recommended that we wear masks in public where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) to help reduce the spread of the virus between people interacting in close proximity.

Face coverings do two things – they contain the spread from the sick and prevent inhalation in the healthy. The degree to which they achieve these things is debated, but one thing is not: they are only really effective if used properly. For more information go to: 


Confession – I run maskless. It is too hot! I do make every effort to maintain a six foot social distance. As runners, it takes little effort to move to the opposite side of the road to care for the health of our community. 

Should you avoid running in groups?

It is recommended that people avoid social gatherings of over ten people to help slow the spread. So, running with a friend or two is probably okay, but the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends avoiding crowded routes.

Another confession – I run with a friend on Elkton Road very early in the morning. She does not like the heat and I get to practice what I write, so we both win!

Can Coronavirus be spread through sweat?

According to the CDC, transmission of the coronavirus happens between people who are in close contact with one another (about six feet) and through respiratory droplets, produced through a cough or sneeze – not sweat. So, go out and sweat!

Am I contagious if I have no symptoms?

According to the CDC, yes, you are probably contagious before you begin to show symptoms, but they don’t know for what period, and they don’t know how contagious. It makes sense that you would be more contagious once you are coughing, but they do not fully understand transmission yet. Therefore, handwashing, maintaining at least six-foot distance from others, and not touching your face is the correct answer.

Is my immune system weaker after a hard workout?

As you deplete your glycogen stores, your immune system does not function as well as it usually does. That means in the hours following a hard workout, you could slightly increase your chances of becoming ill.

Is it safe to participate in public events? 

The size and safety of an event or gathering for Central Virginia will be determined based on state safety laws and regulations, and those will continue to change over the coming months.

Do keep in mind that the more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading. 

At United Way we are hoping and looking forward to the two fall races hosted by United Way Partner Agencies and favorites of our community: 

We hope that come November; we will see a community of superheroes on the bike path followed a couple of weeks later by turkeys racing up Langhorne Road. For myself, I prefer the Superhero image but do enjoy the Turkey Trot as a race, so you will see me mid-pack of both races and if we have to do them virtually, then let’s support these two great causes. We can compete against ourselves if we cannot participate together. 

Look for registration to open for the United Way 5K on the Runway, October 15. See you at the airport on April 10, 2021!

Please consider helping to care for those individuals and families in our community who have been impacted by COVID-19. for more information and to give go to Response and Recovery.