Decatur Education Foundation hosts online Tour deCatur

Decatur Education Foundation hosts online Tour deCatur

Gail Rothman, the Executive Director of the Decatur Education Foundation (DEF), announced on Mar. 12 the cancellation of the outdoor Tour deCatur, which was scheduled to happen on Mar. 14. Instead, the DEF is sponsoring a virtual version of the annual Tour deCatur, which will take place all during the month of April due to COVID-19 complications. 

Rothman decided to cancel the outdoor Tour deCatur because “as we got closer to race day, it became clear that the pandemic had arrived in full force and that it wouldn’t be safe to host such a large community event.”

The closure of all Decatur schools came just two days before, on Mar. 12.

According to Rothman, the DEF decided to host a virtual Tour deCatur “so that people could get out of their house and get some exercise, which is very important for mental health.” 

To enter results for the 5K race, one can enter a photo of any tracking device with an allotted time on this website. DEF announced that the 1-mile fun run and tot trot will not be timed but that participants could enter their results on a google form on their website.

The DEF plans to deliver the usual prizes, shirts and medals, during the month of May. Fleet Feet, a Decatur business, has sponsored the competition as usual by awarding a $100 gift card to the fastest overall male and female runners and the fastest Masters (over 40) male and female runners.

Without a widespread, outdoor Tour deCatur, the DEF was unable to raise the usual $80-$90,000 brought in by one of their largest yearly events. However, “DEF has many different revenue streams and we don’t rely on just one event,” Rothman said. “Earlier this year we started the Step Up Circle which is a way to recognize donors that invest in DEF… these investments have really helped us weather the current situation.”

No refunds are available to those who signed up for the outdoor Tour deCatur but chose not to participate in the online version, according to the Tour deCatur Website. “All funds support kids across our community so those who don’t choose to run can consider their fees a donation,” Rothman said.

DEF has plans to host other annual events that will not happen traditionally due to COVID-19. The Decatur Lantern Parade has become the Decatur Lantern Parade-in-Place, which “keeps the spirit of togetherness but allows for the safety of social distancing and staying at home,” Rothman said. The Lantern Parade will take place May 8-10, when people are invited to hang up lanterns in front of their homes and enjoy other decorations. 

As for the Tour deCatur, Rothman hopes it can proceed as usual next year.

“We hope by next March the situation will allow us to get back to the regular Tour deCatur where we can gather together for a massive race day,” Rothman said.