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30th annual Bone and Back relay is happening, despite COVID-19

Health & Fitness

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AMMON – After months of discussion, organizers behind the annual Bone and Back relay have decided to move forward with the race this year.

Race co-director Janson Jardine tells the city of Ammon officially approved their permit Wednesday.

“I’ve seen so many races drop in the community because of COVID and I really didn’t want to make the final decision until very last minute. I feel bad that it is last minute, but we wanted to make sure everyone was healthy and that we’re adhering to state and local policies,” Jardine says.

The 40-mile relay will begin Saturday, June 27 at Summitt Orthopedics in Idaho Falls. There will be varying start times, depending on how participants are competing. The solo race will begin at 5:30 a.m. Those participating as part of a 4-man or 8-man team will begin at 7:30 a.m.

In an effort to minimize the number of people gathering in one place, Jardine says they are planning to have staggered start times for each race. Aid stations will also be reduced to as few people as possible and there will not be an awards ceremony.

As of Wednesday, Jardine says only 30 people were registered for the race because no one knew whether it was still happening. He’s hoping the number of participants will increase in the next week.

“It’s normally $40 per person, but if they register between now and next Wednesday, they’ll get $10 off the price,” says Jardine.

You can get the $30 price when you register by using the promo code “COVID.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary since the race was first held. Jardine was hoping to celebrate that milestone in a big way, but those plans have changed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’re going to go more basic…because we want to support local businesses,” he says. “Normally we go around and get businesses to sponsor the event. What we’d like to focus on is doing a reverse sponsorship where we go and support them by shopping at their store.”

Jardine says some businesses have already committed to be sponsors. Chobani will be providing yogurt for all the runners and Cliff Bar will be providing products as well.

“We don’t want to pressure businesses too much because we know some of them have been hurting,” says Jardine.

Jardine has been involved with the Bone and Back relay for the last five years. He says his favorite part about it is the camaraderie with the other runners and the contagious atmosphere.

“I ran it last year and everybody who drives past you is honking and screaming at you to do your best. The whole atmosphere is very contagious,” he says.

Jardine says the course is challenging. Whether runners are doing five miles or 40 miles, there is an uphill aspect to every part of the race. He is encouraging runners to challenge themselves by coming and participating in this year’s relay.

“Get out of the house. We’ve been stuck in it for months,” he says. “We also ask for your patience. It’s going to be a unique year for both runners and the race committee.”

Registration is open up until the week of the race, but you must register at least two weeks prior to guarantee yourself a t-shirt. Click here to register.