Grab your best running or walking shoes.
After nearly two years, hundreds of walkers and runners in October will cross the Astoria Bridge by foot for the Great Columbia Crossing.
The 10K run or walk will be held in-person on Oct. 10. Participants travel from Washington state, across the Astoria Bridge, to Astoria. As of now, event coordinators expect the event to look like previous years, but details are subject to change based on health and safety regulations tied to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Event planning during this pandemic is challenging and we appreciate your patience,” Bayly Lay, the event coordinator for the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.
The event, like many others on the North Coast, was held virtually in 2020 because of the pandemic. The race is one of the chamber’s largest fundraisers.
“The reason we plan these events when we do is we want to increase commerce in the area when it’s not necessarily happening … We try to get our runners, especially those from out of town, to get into the area spending money in the community,” said David Reid, the chamber’s executive director. “We always look for a bigger community impact.”
Event capacity is usually 3,500 people but will be limited to 2,000 this year. About 400 people participated in the virtual event last year.
“We lowered the event capacity just to err on the side of caution,” Reid said. “As we finalize event planning, we may increase capacity as restrictions change.”
The event was first held in 1982. In 2016, the event was postponed, then canceled, because of stormy weather — marking the first time the race was called off.
Not being able to get event permits was one of the main reasons the event was held virtually last year.
“All the agencies involved have been contacted,” Reid said. “Everybody is on board and everybody is enthusiastic. We’re not hearing any sort of restrictions.”
The chamber will follow health and safety guidelines set by the Oregon Health Authority and the Clatsop County Public Health Department.
“Please know that we are doing everything we can to ensure that this remains a safe and responsible event for all,” Lay said. “Registrants should be prepared to abide by any safety standards that may be required at the time of the event.”
In addition to the changed capacity limit, the chamber will also be mailing participants event packets to avoid having crowds gather to pick up their race materials. The chamber mailed race packets last year for the first time.
“In the past everyone had to come pick up their packet Thursday, Friday, Saturday or God forbid, Sunday morning,” Reid said. “It’s going to be very labor intensive on our part, but will reduce crowding … It may help us out. If it works, it’ll be something we continue in future years.”
From 8:30 to 11 a.m., the bridge will be closed to vehicles so event participants can travel across the bridge safely. Participants who don’t finish the race by 11 a.m. will be picked up by event volunteers so the bridge can be reopened.
Event registration will open on July 14 and details will be announced online at greatcolumbiacrossing.com. Participation costs $45 per person and is open to all ages.
“We look forward to seeing everyone again this year,” Lay said.