The Virtual Run Challenge
As Lancaster County braces for impact of the COVID-19, most of you know by now that Garden Spot Village has chosen to protect our residents, who also wear the volunteer super hero capes around here, and change the focus of our annual half-marathon and 10K. Many of the comments we get about our race, is that it is so well-organized, and the volunteers are so wonderful. With the COVID-19 wreaking particularly harmful effects on older adults, this face is a good reason to switch our focus from an on-site event supported by hundreds of senior volunteers, to a virtual challenge, where the competition is you.
Your Turf, Your terms, Your Pace
I completed a 250-mile winter challenge virtual race a few years ago. I needed some motivation for running over the winter, and this worked for me. The challenge was to run or walk, and log the miles. The goal was to complete 250 in four months over the winter. As soon as I hit that “Register” button, I had the push I needed to start logging miles. There were days when my husband was laughing at me, because I had a fever, and was still going out to walk a few miles so I could put those miles towards my goal! We all run for different reasons, and for me, making that commitment was what kept me going, even when I knew no one was watching me or checking my math. At the end of March, I received a package with a congratulatory note, a finisher’s t-shirt, and an over-sized, gaudy, sparkling, snowflake medal. I also recieved a notice of the contribution to the named charity, that was the beneficiary of some of my registration fee.
Harder Than You Think
This year, the GSV Half-marathon and 10K is more of a “Challenge” than a “Race”. “Race” connotes competitors. This year, the competitor is you! Whether your goal was to build yourself up athletically, snag a personal best, or just complete something you set out to do, finishing out your commitment to this goal is still within sight and it will be challenging! Yes, a traditional race offers the buzz of a gathering excited crowd, pumping base in the background, the smell of sweat & port-o-potties, and more skin than you might like to see at a public event–but there is something to be said for eliminating the travel and parking, choosing your route, choosing your start time, AND giving the best chance of health to our older people. I promise, you will still come away with plenty of bling, and some commemorative gear.
Global Pandemic Can Still Strengthen Our Ties
While the switch from an on-site race, to a virtual challenge is disappointing (we have lots of runners here who are feeling your pain!), when race day comes, I hope you can find comfort and inspiration in knowing that hundreds of runners are plotting our their routes and start lines, chowing down on pasta the night before (some people race just for this!), waking up before the dawn (I really hope you use this to your advantage and SLEEP IN-but to each his/her own.) and lacing up for the culmination of all your training. Then, when the dust settles from your speedy paces and you shower off, your exclusive medal, t-shirts and finishers gear will be on its way. You will then be part of a select, and limited number of people who still ran their race, in the year we all (hopefully) survived COVID-19.
Happy, Safe & Healthy Trails!