Sport in the covid era: report from the Extreme Dog Race

31.5.2021 Mgr. Eva Šišoláková

Sport has been hit really hard by the restrictions against the COVID-19 virus. We went through a period when it was practically impossible to play sports, then the possibility to play sports only in the territory of the municipality and ideally alone (for example, in the case of the South Moravian municipality of Závisti - the smallest municipality in the Czech Republic - this regulation must have seemed almost comical).

But we finally got there and the second half of May brought us the much desired first races. And there were not a few of them - let's mention for example the Extreme Dog Race, the relay race Run Labe Run, Ludgerovice Patnacka, etc. 

Sports events in the shadow of Covid

All of us sports enthusiasts and athletes have been preparing to find out where we actually stand. Was our hard preparation of any use at all? Because this year, perhaps more than ever, we were mainly fighting our own willpower and convenience.

Let's not kid ourselves - even athletes are only human, and once you slack off, it's harder to get back to regular exercise. The temptation of doing nothing and lounging around got to many of us and our "reward" was the rapidly growing fat folds and extra kilos that jumped on the scale without warning.

On the other hand, organizers of sporting events had to face much worse problems than laziness and convenience during the endless lockdowns. Originally scheduled events were postponed or cancelled and there was no end in sight to the lockdowns. Until, finally, a reversal came. Now that races are allowed to be held again, we wondered what it would be like to attend them.

The organisers have added COVID-19 measures to the classic requirements so that these events can take place and not just be virtual, although we were glad for that too. After all, motivation is sometimes hard to find.

So the following requirements were added to the real proposal:

proof of mandatory testing,
masks/respirators,
disinfection, spacing,
wave starts, locker room restrictions,
refreshments, etc.

You can read the specific arrangements for each race below:

Covid 19 - run measures
LABE runLudgerovicka 15 or waking up from winter sleep
Anti-convivial measures.

Experience from the Extreme Dog Race

We took part in the Extreme Dog Race ourselves. We were frankly curious how they will deal with disinfection, because in this case it is an extreme race with obstacles, where you climb with your dog on all fours through a narrow tunnel, which usually contains water or mud, climb over obstacles in a waterlogged meadow, wade in water and mud, etc. But first things first...

Before the start of the race, we received an e-mail from the organizers, in which we found, in addition to specifying the regulations and obstacles, also an affidavit in which we declare that:

"I have been tested within the past 72 hours for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus antigen, with a negative result, or I have had (laboratory confirmed) covid-19 disease with a positive test result for covid-19 less than 90 days ago, or I have a certificate from the Ministry of Health certifying that I have been vaccinated against COVID-19 disease and that at least 14 days have elapsed since the second dose (or, in the case of single-dose vaccines, since the first dose)."

In our case, therefore, it was necessary to secure the tests. At work, we usually test on Mondays with antigen tests, which are only valid for 72 hours. So we had a couple of options - either make an appointment for testing paid for by insurance, which we are entitled to every 3 days (or every 4th day) in May, or do a self-test at home.

In the end, we opted for the second option. We chose the fast and gentle SANSURE 2in1 colloidal gold-based antigen test for quality detection of the nucleocapsid pro-protein (N-protein) antigen SARS-CoV-2. After all, it was a quick and convenient solution, the swabbing of the front of the nose was uneventful, and before the result showed up within 10 to 15 minutes, we had time to set up the rest of the equipment we needed for the race. 

 

As soon as the result was negative, we got a witness (anyone from the household is enough - unfortunately dogs don't count), signed the declaration and reverse, and packed the vaccination certificates. These are missing from the photo, which I'm sure the observant dog person noticed.

Respirators or muffs have become a standard part of our daily wardrobe. We packed our FFP2 respirators from Hygisun brand in elegant black colour. What else? We always have wet wipes and disinfectant in the car. We share this equipment with all parents and dog owners, as there is always something to clean up in the car. 

In the evening before we left, we checked everything one last time and made sure that nothing was missing. Our alarm was set for 4am. The dogs were snoozing peacefully and we soon went to bed as well.

Dirty, tired, but proud and happy

After four hours of driving, we finally arrive. We rush to the registration, where they prepared envelopes with chips and small gifts for our furry friends. We keep our spacing honestly and both we and the organizers have respirators or masks. Right next to the organizers' table there is disinfectant.

As we have all grown accustomed to human contact, apparently no one has much trouble keeping our distance from each other. Music is playing and the emcee of the event is telling us everything about the race into a microphone, so we don't have to crowd around him. We listen quietly on the sidelines for instructions and other important information. Even so, you can feel the pre-race euphoria slowly rising. We quickly arrange to change the start so we can catch both races, and in a few minutes we're off. We're at the starting gate, just a quick beep of the correct chip and off we go. The course is 6km long and there are 18 obstacles.

There are helpers waiting at each obstacle to explain in detail exactly what we need to do at a particular obstacle, as it's not always clear. In case there are two or more helpers at an obstacle, they are wearing blindfolds. That's all we can perceive as we get tired and the kilometres in our legs get longer. After all the obstacles have been conquered, the finish line appears in front of us, where beautiful medals await us, even if only for participation.

The motto of these races has always been, "Get over yourself, get off the couch and do something for yourself and your dog!" This year, it's doubly true.

Dirty, tired, but proud and happy to have participated, we are going home and our minds are racing with thoughts of when the next race will be, because this is really addictive and it shows that even with precautions you can make it work. We've gotten used to them so it's just a few extra items on our list. The main thing is that we can finally race and outdo ourselves.

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