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Discussion: Corn Maze Champs, maybe?

in: 2020 Corn Maze Champs (Sep 7, 2020 - Sunderland, MA, US)

Jul 26, 2020 10:25 PM # 
I stopped by at Mike's Maze yesterday afternoon to see if there was a maze. There was! And it was growing rather nicely, with lots of rain in the last couple of weeks after a long dry spell.

I ran into Dave, Mike's son and now the boss, and we chatted about things for a while. Key points were:

-- As of now, they are planning on having the maze open to the public this fall, with various accommodations due to COVID.

-- There is no second maze this year (the so-called "Beer Maze"), because there's no way that would work.

-- They are planning on opening on the weekend after Labor Day.

-- We are welcome on Labor Day weekend.

-- And, most important, everything is subject to change, because that's the way life is these days. But they are trying to make it happen.

I don't know what JJ and Steve are thinking about doing, and what accommodations might be needed. I don't know what the restrictions might be at that point on travel to Massachusetts. I don't know if folks would want to come. But there are possibilities.
Jul 26, 2020 10:29 PM # 
Jul 26, 2020 11:35 PM # 
Is Bub's open?
Jul 27, 2020 1:23 AM # 
Here's the new Massachusetts travel order going into effect Aug. 1. In short: Travelers from states in New England, as well as from New York or New Jersey, are exempt from having to quarantine when entering Mass. But travelers from PA, MD, DC are not exempt. Of course, things can change fast.
Jul 27, 2020 10:08 AM # 
I wonder why PA is on their list; they're not on the NJ/NY/CT 's 31-state list...
Jul 27, 2020 12:48 PM # 
There are of course other forms of travel restrictions in play. My son for example will not be allowed to return to his college campus (in New York state) if he attends. Assuming of course the rules don't change further between now and then.
Jul 27, 2020 4:50 PM # 
JJ and I have indeed been in touch with Mike's, and their plans for the maze this year are as PG shared ... but WCOC still has a hold on all their fall events. They are not yet comfortable with approving any events. So we are still in a holding pattern regarding the 2020 maze champs.

(As frustrating as this is, it is still the case that ~250 people a day are currently testing positive in Massachusetts. :( )
Jul 27, 2020 5:33 PM # 
Massachusetts allows outdoor gatherings in unenclosed spaces but not athletic races/events.

The wording:

The following outdoor activities are prohibited: street festivals, agricultural festivals, walk-a-thons, road races and bike races, and other outdoor, organized athletic or recreational events that gather large numbers of participants or spectators outdoors are prohibited until further Order

This doesn't mean there can't be corn maze orienteering in MA, just that it would have to be organized a bit differently than in the past.
Jul 27, 2020 5:38 PM # 
Corn maze orienteering does not gather large numbers of participants or spectators. Up to 50 participants, fewer than 10 spectators for this event. We're not talking about a race where the sidewalks are lined with cheering fans.

We've got a similar situation for the tentative Billygoat, by the way. I think we could make it work with some reasonable modifications, but it's up to WCOC (and the landowner) as to whether to proceed. I'm thinking that Billygoat seems a bit less likely to happen.
Jul 27, 2020 6:13 PM # 
I guess there's an argument to be made about what constitutes a "large number of participants" but I would argue that 50 people milling around together for awards or pre-race briefings, etc. is just that. That doesn't mean I think it would be inherently unsafe, just maybe not what the governor had in mind.
Jul 27, 2020 6:25 PM # 
CT guidelines currently call for no day of registrations (pre-reg only), no awards ceremonies, swag picked up separate from event or dispensed with altogether. Athletes responsible for own hydration/nutrition needs (no aid stations). Masked at all times except while racing and recommended 12' spacing (double the recommended 6'). Loop courses encouraged, out/back discouraged. Pre/post gatherings only in large spaces where appropriate spacing can be maintained - ie picnic with family groups after.

Problem with a maze course (unless designed with this in mind) is that there is virtually no way to minimize out/back type legs and narrow passages in the corn pretty much ensure you will be within 6' of other competitors once in a while.

But I do hope this is able to happen...
Jul 27, 2020 8:14 PM # 
Adjustments in terms of the milling-around part are definitely on the table, e.g. one of the suggestions I made in the case of the Billygoat is that T-shirts would be available at the finish line rather than handed out at a ceremony (as well as a significant modification to the start). And then you're supposed to go back to your car. Also, in the case of the Billygoat, the start might be somewhat different than the traditional mass start.

Passing by people intermittently in the maze would definitely happen. But my understanding is that passing by someone briefly does not carry a significant risk of disease transmission. In the case that there is a contagious person at the event, I don't think that running past that person is likely to pass on the germs. This is not a prolonged face-to-face conversation. If there are no infected people, of course, the risk is zero. Masks before you go into the maze of course, etc.

However, the first two items on the list would be: a) if you think there's a possibility that you're sick (with anything contagious), please do not come, and b) if you aren't comfortable with the arrangements, please do not come.
Jul 27, 2020 9:17 PM # 
Re. the Billygoat -- CT, like most of the other NE states, has a travel restriction for those of us who live outside of it. So, as a Marylander, I couldn't attend (unless of course that changes). So, I'd vote to postpone, as it doesn't seem nice to have such an important :-) event that several regulars can't participate in.
But, boo.
Jul 27, 2020 11:08 PM # 
Yep, the organizers contacted me earlier today for an assessment of the impact of the travel restrictions. You were the first person I thought of followed by Sharon. I said that my opinion for the Billygoat is that I think it should be put off to next year if there are travel restrictions from any state. (Corn maze is a different matter, it's not so bad if that's a small local event.)
Jul 28, 2020 7:56 AM # 
CT guidelines...

IE, WCOC guidelines?

Billygoat: Another (related to peggyd's comments) consideration is that some long time participants with active streaks would lose them if the event were held with travel restrictions in place.
Jul 28, 2020 11:39 AM # 
That's exactly the consideration. The main issue is CT state government policies regarding people traveling to the the state from various places.

The guidelines that cmorse mentions I believe are also from the CT state government, though the Corn Maze Champs is an event that is held in Massachusetts (though typically hosted by WCOC).
Jul 28, 2020 12:54 PM # 
Yes - those were CT state guidelines for outdoor sporting events. We are working through the logistics of holding fall races in my running club. I'll see if I can't post the link to the document.

OUSA Covid guidelines/recommendations were approved by the board last night, I will have those up sometime today...
Jul 28, 2020 1:39 PM # 
Billygoat: Another (related to peggyd's comments) consideration is that some long time participants with active streaks would lose them if the event were held with travel restrictions in place.

Perhaps offer the equivalent of a 'sporting withdrawal' credit for folks that would be impacted by travel restrictions. No need to break a streak by missing a more localized version of the event (if it happens).
Jul 28, 2020 2:04 PM # 
I think if it's a restricted attendance version, it shouldn't be called the Billygoat. Virigoat? Covidigoat? Some cool replacement name?
Jul 28, 2020 2:17 PM # 
OUSA approved SARS-CoV-2 recommendations
Jul 28, 2020 2:19 PM # 
I would agree with that reasoning for an event that bills itself as a championship or a team selection. I wouldn't put the BG in that category but apparently some folks do.
Jul 28, 2020 2:25 PM # 
The Billygoat AND the CMOUSA MA State Champs are both definitely in that category.
Jul 28, 2020 3:01 PM # 
Here are the CT Current Guidelines for Outdoor Events - last updated 7/23
Jul 28, 2020 3:44 PM # 
If there's no Billygoat this year, remember there's still the 1979 course up at Mt. Tom, run it when you want.
Jul 28, 2020 3:58 PM # 
Massachusetts has stronger travel restrictions than CT, so Mt. Tom isn’t really an option right now for anyone living south and west of NY and NJ.
Jul 28, 2020 6:43 PM # 
and you can re-run the Blue course from the 2016 Classic Championship at Ward Pound Ridge, NY
Jul 28, 2020 9:49 PM # 
Maybe we can have a Virtual Billygoat. You download a map, everybody starts at the same time, wherever they happen to be, you run around for a while with the map until you've had enough, and post your time on a web page. Maybe we can all carry phones and be on Zoom.
Jul 28, 2020 10:39 PM # 
Regarding the Billygoat, we'll have an update posted soon. We have our best minds working on it....
Jul 29, 2020 6:25 PM # 
Thank you, JJ, for your thought of me (and Peggy.) As of July 28, Connecticut lists 34 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico, as locations from which one must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Connecticut. Colorado is NOT on the list, so in theory I could come to the Billygoat (but not to Massachusetts for Corn Maze.) However, Maryland is on Connecticut's list, barring Peggy.
Jul 29, 2020 8:43 PM # 
So, what are the restrictions of the "self quarantine"? If you drive in, run through the woods without coming within a couple meters of anyone else, get back in your car, and drive back out, have you violated the guidelines? Are those in self-quarantine permitted solitary outdoor exercise or is that even addressed?
Jul 29, 2020 8:52 PM # 
The state guidelines for quarantining say, "If you are able to exercise, do so in your home or yard. Avoid locations where you may come into contact with others."
Jul 30, 2020 2:44 AM # 
So Mass has an even shorter list than NJ/NY/CT?
Jul 30, 2020 3:11 AM # 
Starting this Saturday, MA allows people in only from New England, NY, and NJ. All others are supposed to quarantine for two weeks.
Jul 30, 2020 3:42 AM # 
Unless you're just traveling through, and only stop at a rest stop. And I might note that Mt Tom is accessible from a rest stop off of Interstate 91 :-)
Jul 30, 2020 4:20 PM # 
I would love to participate in a Zoom discussion of previous billygoat race results, stories, course designs, skip choices, etc.

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