This year, the Grandma's Marathon weekend will be different from years past. In order to put on the event, Grandma's Marathon had to consult with someone familiar with the challenges brought on this year.

The announcement was made today by Grandma's Marathon that they would work closely with world-renowned crowd scientist Marcel Altenburg of Manchester Metropolitan University to come up with a plan for the runners, crowds, and volunteers. Altenburg will help with a plan for all the moving parts to work for each of those.

According to the press release, Altenburg has worked with other large marathons in London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York. He came up with software that helps plan events like the marathon weekend called Start Right. The software will help the organizers and race director to see what problems will arise and control them.

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Grandma's Marathon is different with all the setup and has precise measurements for the course and can plan social distancing and other things special to the race. Grandma's already has some changes in place like the following:

  • Bus Transportation – There will be only 25 participants per bus, all safety guilines will be followed, there will be a controlled way in which the participants will exit the bus.
  • Rolling Start Line – There will be a controlled start corral for both the full and half marathon with social distancing. The runners will follow the corral right to the start line and be released 5 at a time in staggard starts.
  • Masks & Face Coverings – All participants, volunteers, staff, and others present will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times, except when they are running.

Altenburg’s analysis of the current plan, with the above safety measures included, shows a decreased density. The Start Right program will check participant density and spacing along the racecourse to make sure the flow works for safety. With the plan that is in place, the software says there is a decrease in the amount of people crossing at one time.

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