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Ore to Shore scheduling comes as great news

Any bit of positive news is welcome during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 crisis.

So, we were happy to hear the Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic still is planned for Aug. 8.

There are several races of varying distances in the event, including the grueling 8-mile Hard Rock, which starts in Negaunee, down to the Littlest Rock, a 50-yard race for youngsters. Many people take part in his popular event.

Needless to say, this year is different. Many summer events, such as Art on the Rocks and the Blueberry Festival, have been canceled because of the pandemic and the many protocols that come with it, such as social distancing guidelines.

So, Ore to Shore organizers decided to promote the safety of participants, volunteers, partners and the community in general by planning several modifications. These include mailing out bib packets for participants registered before Aug. 1, moving portions of the expo inside, increasing the size of the start line pens to comply with social distancing, and making sure aid station volunteers are equipped with personal protection equipment.

They also are looking to important governmental personnel for help.

Organizers said they continue to work closely with units of government; local, county and state law enforcement; emergency response professionals; and health agencies to monitor the evolving situation and look at options. Whether the race can come off as planned or conditions have to be modified, the decision will be made with their input.

If the race is canceled, all registered participants will receive transfers into the 2021 event.

Certainly, that would be a disappointment to racers and spectators, but understandable.

However, it seems due diligence will be taken to ensure the event, should it take place, will be as safe as possible.

A lot can happen with the COVID-19 crisis between now and race time, but we believe Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic is headed in the right direction.

If it goes off smoothly, perhaps it will serve as an example for subsequent event organizers.

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