MAJOR UPDATE APRIL 14, 2022
We are thrilled, that due to the continued decline in hospitalizations, Dr. Krebs and I are in agreement that we can eliminate the proof of Covid vaccination requirement to participate in our relays. The only reason the proof of vaccination requirement would be reinstated is if a new variant, with the severity of Delta that dramatically increases hospitalizations, shows up. That is the only reason our policy below is not erased.
Last updated March 11, 2022 - At this time, our Medical Advisor has recommended Covid policies remain in affect for 2022, but Dr. Krebs is now comfortable saying that results of a spike protein titer test, with a titer count of over 2500, can now be accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination.
HOWEVER, We are aware that positive cases are dropping after the Omicron surge and many restrictions are being relaxed or eliminated. Dr. Krebs believes with all the people vaccinated and/or infected by Omicron, that we have achieved, or are very close to, herd immunity.
If no other variant rears it's ugly head in the next six weeks, it is Dr. Krebs opinion the pandemic could be considered over.
Based on his advice, if no other variant becomes an issue by the middle/end of April, we will be relaxing our Covid policies where proof of vaccination will no longer be required.
These policies were developed with the input and cooperation of Dr. Steven Krebs. Dr. Krebs graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1989 before completing his residency in 1993 in Internal Medicine at St Joseph Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Krebs has been board certified since by the American Board of Internal Medicine and specializes in hospital care of severely ill adults. At present, Dr. Krebs is teaching faculty at the University of Kansas Hospital Topeka Campus. As a hospitalist and co-chair of the hospital's critical care committee, he has been involved in all aspects of the recent Covid-19 epidemic, including facility preparation and in the care of innumerable hospitalized Covid cases. Unfortunately, Dr. Krebs has had a "front row seat" to the very real nature of the severely ill Covid patient and its high morbidity and mortality. In addition, Steve Krebs, and his team Oh What a Bonanza, have been an annual participant in the Wild West Relay since 2005.
Currently, Dr. Krebs full-time gig is Covid. With all the committees he is on, studies he reads, and long-haul Covid patients he treats, he said he is among the top Covid physicians in the country.
These are the current policies that will be in force for the 2022 Wild West Relay and Flaming Foliage Relay. As the guidelines from the FDA, CDC, the State of Colorado, and various counties who issue our permits evolve, our policies may change. But these are the policies you should expect and be willing to follow if you decide to participate in our relays.
One of my most important jobs as a race director is to provide as safe as possible environment for participants, thus our Covid policy. Safety protocols change based on the race conditions we have to deal with, thus the Covid policy which is based on the recommendations of Dr. Krebs.
Some runners may feel our policies are over the top or too strict, or that so and so race is not requiring participants be vaccinated. Other races are free to come up with whatever policies they choose. I have a long history of safety first over my outdoor career. For example, I had a small rafting company in the early 80's that ran a Class V river. I required our clients to wear helmets only to be openly mocked by other rafting companies. The funny thing is, a year or two year later, these same rafting companies had their clients wearing helmets.
Since we first announced our Covid-19 policy of proof of vaccination will be required to participate in March, 2021, many races have adopted a similar proof of vaccination is required policy.
Here are the policies currently in place for the Wild West Relay and the Flaming Foliage Relay:
- To participate runners will need show proof they are what the FDA classifies as Up to Date. As of February 8th, 2022, the definition of Up to Date means the initial inoculations (two Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines, or one Johnson & Johnson vaccine) plus one booster.
- Not vaccinated and recovered from Covid? You can now provide the results from a Spike Protein Titer Test you can get from your physician. A M protein titre of > 2500 within 5 months of the event will be accepted in lieu of vaccination.
- No proof = no participation; no exceptions. Why is proof required? It is like why the signing of a waiver is required. A participant may say they accept responsibility for their participation, but only a signed waiver will stand up. The same with showing proof of vaccination. If everyone in the relay knows that everyone else has also been vaccinated, the comfort level goes way up.
- If your Vaccination record is on more than one card, all cards must be presented. The smartphone app myColorado has digital ID and Vaccine Records and this will be accepted.
- Dr. Krebs expects the FDA to update the definition of Up to Date to include a booster every six or so months. If the FDA does come out with this update, our policy will be updated as well.
- Why am I requiring vaccinations when other races are not? Three reasons. First, in a relay, participants are riding in close contact with others in their team vehicles. I am under no illusion that people will wear masks while in their vehicles together.
Second, people are going to be making multiple visits to portable toilets along the route. Each toilet will be visited potentially by hundreds of other people. Fecal matter, which can become airborne, carries the Covid virus.
Third, there will be higher concentrations of people at the runner exchanges, especially at the van exchanges. This is unavoidable.
- Teams need to know that the captain or a team representative will need to have photos of the entire team's vaccination record cards along with their ID. Screen shots from the myColorado app are acceptable. If one person on a team does not have their card, or their card is deemed not authentic, the entire team will not be permitted to start.
- Additional safety equipment will be required for each vehicle: enough hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will need to be presented at check in along with the other standard safety gear of reflective vests, head lamps, red blinking lights, etc.
- Indoor sleeping or access to the showers at the van exchanges at the North Park High School in Walden for the WWR and the Lake County High School in Leadville for the FFR may not be available. Come prepared with warm sleeping bags and/or tents for sleeping outside.
- Failure for even one person on a team to comply with these policies will result in the entire team not being able to start.
- There will be no refunds, deferrals, or switching from one relay to another for teams who do not follow these policies.
Our 2021 relays went smoothly and we plan for the same in 2022.
Paul Vanderheiden - Race Director
Dr. Krebs alluded to this last spring but there weren't enough studies yet, but he is now comfortable saying that if a person has had Covid within six months of the relay, their spike protein titer should measure over 2500. Over 2500 is equivalent to being vaccinated. What they aren't positive of yet, is if the titer of those infected wanes over time like the vaccines do (5-6 months). The titer of people who caught Covid varies: asymptomatic people can end up with titer count under 2500, severely ill Covid patients have a titer count in the hundreds of thousands. The severity of an illness affects the titer count.
Dr. Krebs said that people can go to their doctor's office and get a spike protein titer test, and if over 2500, we'll accept that in lieu of vaccination. Dr. Krebs suggested two-three months before the relay would be a good time to get the test. He also explained that while the government hasn't accepted/promoted this, the medical community has.