Even virtually, the sponsors stuck close.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Quad-City Times Bix 7 into a virtual running last year, a bit of Bix bling found its way to runners.
The race packets in 2020 included coupons for Whitey's popsicles and Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches — two favorites at the Walmart post-race party in the parking lot of the Quad-City Times.
As the race returns to Brady Street this year, some of the sponsors that help make it possible say they are looking forward to the Quad-Cities' big event as much as those who will run it.
"We’re thrilled to welcome everyone back for the Bix," said Matt Christensen, executive editor at the Quad-City Times. "It truly is our community’s signature event, and so we’re proud of our long tradition as title sponsor.
"The Quad-City Times Bix 7 isn’t just a road race; it’s our Quad-City homecoming. And this year, after everything folks went through with the pandemic, it’s going to be especially sweet. I can’t wait to celebrate with a few thousand friends at the finish line."
Genesis Health Systems — like the Quad-City Times — has been a Bix sponsor for more than 40 years.
"The Quad-City Times Bix 7 is a health, wellness and fun event. Genesis is always interested in supporting events centered around health, wellness and fun," said Craig Cooper, senior communications specialist. "Genesis sponsors the volunteers and also staffs and equips the medical tent with clinical and non-clinical volunteers. A medical tent is vital to the safety of everyone who participates.
"The Quad-City Times Bix 7 is a traditional highlight of living in the Quad-Cities. We live here, work here and Genesis Health System is based here.
"Events like the Quad-City Times Bix 7 don't exist or survive without sponsorships and wide community support. We're proud to be part of a nationally recognized event.''
One way to keep runners out of the Genesis medical tent is to keep them in training and hydration, courtesy of Iowa American Water, which sponsors the Bix at 6 training runs leading up to the race and supplies water along the route.
"We are also excited about the return of the in-person Bix 7 events and what that ultimately means for our community as we emerge from the COVID-19 public health emergency. As always, our employees will be on the front lines helping with setup in the days’ prior to the Street Festival and along the Bix 7 course and also at the finish line with our water hydration station and water arch — quenching thirsts and cooling off participants," said Lisa Reisen, manager of external affairs for Iowa American Water, a Gold Medal Sponsor of the Bix.
Whether supplying popsicles, chicken sandwiches, medical care, water or the multitude of other important methods of support, the Bix sponsors have demonstrated their loyalty and devotion to the race over several decades.
"Our sponsors have been instrumental in the success and stability of our race, starting at the top with the Quad-City Times," race director Michelle Juehring said. "Of our 36 sponsors, 12 have been with us for 24 years or more; eight of those 30 years or more.