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Olympian called out on social media for hosting races with no social distancing

Runner Nick Symmonds has held races at South Eugene High School's track on Mondays in June. Some folks took to social media to voice disapproval.

PORTLAND, Ore. — UPDATE: After this story aired, Symmonds hosted another race, again with no sign of social distancing precautions, according to KEZI News.

Original story below

While most of the state of Oregon has entered Phase 2 of reopening, we're still in the thick of it. Lately, the state has seen increasing cases of COVID-19.

That’s why some gatherings posted online have some people upset.

On runner and Olympian Nick Symmonds' YouTube page and Twitter account, a video that was posted last Monday shows 42 people running side-by-side with no social distancing.

“I'm proud to announce the Nick Symmonds Track Classic. That's right. Track races everywhere have been canceled and I'm sick and tired of it, so I'm gonna throw my own races,” said Symmonds in a video posted to Twitter.

Each Monday in June, Symmonds has held races. According to his videos posted online, they’ve happened on the track at South Eugene High School. According to the schedule he posted, he's got another 5000m run coming up on Monday, June 29. In Lane County, gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed but social distancing is still required. 

While some people were fine with the display, others blasted Symmonds on Twitter.

One response reads, “Hey Nick, I love the spirit, but am concerned that hosting events in our state without masks or social distancing is dangerous and sends the wrong message to your fans.”

Another person wrote, ”Whoa way too many folks, way too close to each other, way too soon ”

KGW has reached out to Symmonds, but he has not gotten back to us.

For people who are itching to get out so they can work out, how do you do it safely?

Of course, if you're outside, health officials are still asking people to keep socially distant.

If you're headed to the gym, the Oregon Health Authority has given some direction saying, “To the extent possible, fitness-related organizations should, but are not required to: Encourage clients to wear cloth, paper, or disposable face coverings.”

Gyms in seven Oregon counties that include Clackamas, Hood River, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, and Washington are a part of Governor Kate Brown's face mask mandate. Clatsop County’s face mask requirement will begin on July 1.

Under the mandate, gym employees are required to wear a mask. Some gyms only require people to wear a mask when they enter the facility. But per state guidelines, once people start working out, the mask can come off so long as they're staying socially distant.

When it comes down to it, if you're unsure, wear a mask. You may save lives.

We will update this story if Nick Symmonds responds to our request for an interview.

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