LENOX — Tanglewood will host the finish line of the Josh Billings RunAground on Sept. 19, but access to the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home will be limited to race participants.
To comply with the Tri-Town Health Department’s directive issued Tuesday in response to area upticks in COVID-19 delta variant cases, the BSO’s Facilities Department at Tanglewood has agreed to maintain its “treasured tradition with the Josh for over 40 years.”
Tanglewood will allow parking access on its beach property below the Lion’s Gate lot for the canoe transports ahead of the triathlon.
The finish line will remain at the Main Gate, but there will be no awards ceremony, post-race party, tents, music or vendors, according to the protocols released Thursday.
Instead, first-, second- and third-place race winners can pick up their awards from noon to 4 p.m. on race day at the Lenox Community Center, 65 Walker St., in the downtown restaurant and retail district, said race director Patty Spector.
Real-time triathlon results will be posted online at plattsys.com.
“The easier decision for Tanglewood is not to participate in this year’s event under current conditions,” said Director of Facilities Bobby Lahart. “We are doing so in the spirit of community engagement and support of race participants, and we are hopeful that everyone will reciprocate by complying with the protocols to ensure a safe and satisfying but brief experience at Tanglewood on race day.”
Bicyclists start the race and runners cross the finish line, Lahart pointed out.
“Race results take time to compile and physically post on a board at Tanglewood,” he told The Eagle. “This process creates a delay and promotes congregation, which is exactly what we need to avoid to maintain a safe experience on campus. The Josh will post race results online for participants’ convenience. No results will be physically posted at Tanglewood.”
Additional stipulations include:
• No tailgating or picnicking inside or outside the grounds. Participants must exit the campus upon finishing the race and celebrate their achievements off-site.
• The grounds will be closed to the public, except for the bike transport process (walking the bikes between Lion’s and Main gates). All buildings will be closed to the public.
• All guests must maintain physical distancing or where masks if within 6 feet while on campus, including the beach area.
• No open restrooms (the Josh must provide porta-potties, per customary practice);
Berkshire County Ambulance will be at the site to handle any medical issues at the finish line, and state police officers will provide security and first-responder services.
Lenox Police will supply traffic details at the Tanglewood Main and East gates off West Street (Route 183). The Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office will station a mobile command communications center vehicle at the site.
Parking attendants will be on hand, as well as Tanglewood facilities staff for logistics.
As requested by the BSO, the triathlon’s board has accepted the stipulations for Tanglewood’s involvement in the event.
The organizers of the 45th Josh Billings RunAground triathlon already had scaled down the event. Spector, the race director for the past 20 years, capped participation at 300 teams, down from the typical 450 or so and the record of 530 in 2013.
That means there would be 600 to 700 participants in the road, bicycle and canoe/kayak competitions, down from the average of 1,200, she said.
The triathlon begins on its usual bicycling route next to the Price Chopper in Great Barrington at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 19. Riders hand off to paddlers at the Stockbridge Bowl boat ramp, and then to runners at Camp Mah-Kee-Nac for their 6-mile race to the finish line at Tanglewood.
According to the Tri-Town Health order, masks are required “in crowded outdoor public events, and where physical distancing, of at least six feet or more, cannot be maintained. This includes but is not limited to: events held at fairgrounds/parks, outdoor performance and event venues, restaurants, etc.”
The Josh has added volunteers and monitors to ensure social distancing among spectators. Where social distancing isn’t possible, people will need to wear masks, Spector said. Race participants will not be masked while competing.