By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – The journey will be the same, but the experience will surely feel a tad different.
The 43rd running of the Flotilla Road Race in Syracuse is still set to start on July 4 as it does most years. The difference, as with everything in real time in 2020, is a change in the format to adjust to life in the pandemic.
The race is still going to cover the 3.3 and 8-mile runs as well as the 3.3 walk it has for years. The twist, however, is the race will be run socially distant. Because of social distance guidelines by the state of Indiana, running and walking in large groups is not allowed, so race organizer Brian Shepherd had to get creative.
Rather than have 400-plus runners and walkers take off at the starting gun at 8 a.m. from Lakeside Park as in recent years, runners are being given an option. Runners are given the course starting at 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 4, and the course will be open until 6 p.m. on July 5.
Those who register by June 29 will be eligible to receive a T-shirt, and those can be picked up between 6:30-11 a.m. on July 4 at Lakeside Park in Syracuse, where the race start and finish will originate.
The course leads away from Lakeside Park and the Syracuse Community Center to the north and takes the 3.3-milers up and around Maxwelton Golf Club. Merging along South County Line Road and then later Northshore Drive, runners and walkers get a view of the golf course’s front and back nines as well as glimpses of Syracuse Lake on the back stretch of the race grid.
The 8-milers will continue on through the 3.3-mile finish and into Syracuse, projecting south into Oakwood Park and back north, eventually rejoining Northshore Drive to hit the finish line back at Lakeside Park.
Finishers will then send their name and time via text to Shepherd at (260) 894-4638 or email [email protected].
Once all of the verified times are compiled, results will be posted on scracetiming.com on July 6, which will include prize information. Shepherd is using the honor system by runners for exact reported times.