Big Blue 5K will be VB-based J&A Racing’s 1st event since pandemic restrictions were lifted

Local News

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — About two weeks from now, runners will once again be waiting to hear the starting gun in Hampton Roads. 

Virginia Beach-based J&A Racing held virtual events during the pandemic, and then a socially distanced Shamrock Marathon earlier this year. 

But the Big Blue 5K will be different, simply because it will be normal.  

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said Kate Napolitano, J&A’s vice president of marketing. 

As a small business dependent on in-person gatherings, Napolitano and the rest of the staff weren’t even sure they’d make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It hit just before the Shamrock Marathon in 2020, the company’s biggest annual event. 

“Runners are resilient, we learned that right from the start,” Napolitano said.  

J&A got through with virtual events, a PPP loan and finally, Shamrock 2021, with a staggered start to keep runners apart. 

The Big Blue 5K on August 14 will be the first event since pandemic restrictions were lifted in the state.  

“This time, we’re going to have a true start line, we’re going to have corrals going off like normal,” Napolitano said. “We’re going to have the finish line on the field, we’re going to have a post-race party, beer, bagels, all the stuff that we used to have.” 

The race takes runners through ODU’s campus, just as the school gets its own fresh start with a new school year, a new football coach and a recently reconstructed stadium.

“It’s been a tough year plus and we’re just excited that everyone’s coming to celebrate with us and cross the finish line and have a good time,” Napolitano said. 

J&A anticipates a crowd of between 1,500 to 2,000 people. A virtual option is available.  

To register, visit the Big Blue 5K website.  

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