No mask requirement while running cross country


Michael Jones

No mask requirement helps runners like sophomore athlete Trevor Okinaka run a good race at Junior Varsity Championships.

No mask requirement helps runners like sophomore athlete Trevor Okinaka run a good race at Junior Varsity Championships. (Michael Jones)

Staff Writer
Kanoa Young

A gun sounds and runners start the five kilometer race, but they aren’t wearing masks for the first time in a year.

The Interscholastic League of Honolulu allowed cross country runners to be maskless for the cross country season. Cross country coach Rick Hendrix was very excited about this development.

“I’m glad that the ILH and state is allowing runners to race without masks,” said Hendrix.

This is good news for all athletes because it allows the runners to get back to a normal environment. Sophomore athlete Michael Jones has more fun running without his mask.

“I feel more free when I’m running because when I ran with a mask it was harder to breathe,” said Jones.

The majority of athletes like Jones are excited to be running without masks.

During practices the runners have been allowed to be maskless during runs but need to wear masks while warming up before meets and practices. This rule is mandatory to keep all runners safe.

“The runners have their masks on until the race, once it starts they spread out and it’s in open air so the chances of them catching a virus is very low,” said Hendrix.

If cases stay low the season will have less difficulties. Coaches stress that all runners need to follow the rules. To keep runners protected, coaches have to discipline runners.

These rules mean that while running without a mask, runners need to be socially distanced ten feet apart. Another rule is athletes must wear masks at all times unless they are running.

“[We] have to discipline them and every time you see them with their masks down you have to go over and remind them to keep their masks up,” said Hendrix.

Along with Hendrix, freshman athlete Luke Minaglia believes that everyone is doing a good job.

“I think everybody on the team is doing a good job social distancing and keeping masks up when needed,” said Minaglia.

Social distancing is a way to be safe, but vaccinations are also a big deal for some runners.

“Most athletes are vaccinated, also there aren’t any parents attending the events,” said Jones.

Will these levels of safety members of cross country hope the season will be safe for everyone.

“I believe the season will be good since the high vaccination rates and the cases have been dying down,” said Minaglia.