Looking Ahead: In the Wake of COVID-19


A Statement from the International Institute for Race Medicine


The International Institute for Race Medicine (IIRM) stands in solidarity alongside our races, our athletes and our race medics in this time of unprecedented turmoil due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that everyone is facing uncertain times; and many are making very difficult decisions unthinkable only a few short weeks ago. The IIRM applauds race organizers for postponing or canceling upcoming races and salutes our race medics who are volunteering once again, this time on the frontline in the race to contain COVID-19.

The IIRM pledges its support to the endurance event community. We stand ready to assist events now and going forward. We support the recommendation for social distancing as the best form of action to fight this pandemic. We are available to answer questions about implications of COVID-19 for running clubs, races or individuals seeking to stay active during this time.

In anticipation of the recovery of the endurance event industry, the IIRM is available to advise events on best practices in the wake of COVID-19 and what will most likely be a lasting impact to mass gatherings of all types until definitive prevention is developed, effective and widely available. We will work to gather and analyze data from events to develop best practices in staging events in light of the concerns this pandemic will generate in mass participation events in the future. We will work with race organizers and community agencies to develop guidelines that ensure the safety of volunteers, spectators and participants. The IIRM is also concerned with how survivors of COVID-19 will be impacted when engaging in vigorous exercise and competition. We are committed to studying this as well and we ask for the support of race directors in this effort.

The mission of the IIRM is to promote the health and safety of athletes participating in endurance events. The IIRM invites all endurance event organizations who share this passion to join us in forming a consortium dedicated to implementing the safe and successful return of endurance events.

Respectfully submitted by:

John Cianca, MD – Houston Marathon

Pierre d’Hemecourt, MD – Boston Marathon

Courtney Kipps, MD – London Marathon

George Chiampas, MD – Chicago Marathon

Matthias Krull, MD – Berlin Marathon

Rebecca Breslow, MD – Boston Marathon

William Roberts, MD – Twin Cities Marathon

Joe Chorley, MD – Houston Marathon

Cathy Fiesler, MD – IIRM Board Member

Fumihiro Yamasawa, MD – Tokyo Marathon

May Tan, MD – Dublin Marathon

Matthew Sedgley, MD – Baltimore Marathon

Martin Schwellnus, MD – South Africa

Stuart Weiss, MD – New York Marathon

Chris Troyanos, ATC – IIRM Executive Director