There may not be a Brady Street hill to tackle or that slow, steady incline on the return on Kirkwood Boulevard, but the 46th running of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 is taking on a feel of its own.
This year’s race will stretch from coast to coast and beyond.
In the month since announcing that this year’s Bix 7 will be a virtual race because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have received entries from 44 states.
"Every year, we have people from all over the United States enter and run and it looks like that is going to be the case again," race director Michelle Juehring said.
Organizers weren’t sure how that would all play out after they decided to take this year’s race off the streets of Davenport and let people run it wherever they want at any time they want between July 1 and July 25, the traditional last Saturday in July date for the race.
"But, people still want to be a part of the tradition, and we’re excited to see that," Juehring said. "Things have been going great."
The race added entries from Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho and Nevada within the past week.
The only states not represented at this point on the entry list are Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
"We’d love to complete the map," Juehring said. "I think now that the weather has warmed up and the school year is over, people are starting to think about summer, and in the Quad-Cities, the Bix is a big part of that."
Street banners along the race course were installed last week and while there may not be thousands of runners and walkers scaling the race-opening hill this year, Juehring said entries continue to come in.
All registrations for the seven-mile Bix 7, the two-mile Prairie Farms Quick Bix and the Arconic Jr. Bix are being done online at bix7.com this year and with no packet pick up, race T-shirts will be mailed out.
"Things are going great," she said. "People are figuring out new and different ways for how they will Bix this year."
The Bix 7 is one of a number of major road races in the country that are shifting to a virtual format this year and Juehring said organizers of many races continue to work together to create a unique experience for unique times.
Some, like the Cherry Blossom in Washington, D.C., and the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans, had only a couple of weeks to adjust to a virtual format while others including the Bix 7 have had more time to work with.
"We’re learning from each other," Juehring said. "There has been a lot of communication between race directors about what has worked, what things they would have done differently, and it’s helping because this is new for all of us."