Elizabeth Ellis received flowers and balloons from her son Jordan after running the New York Marathon, virtually, last weekend.
Marci Lyons holding her “Corona-Lisa” medal after completing a 100-mile challenge.
TO YOUR HEALTH
Virtual Races, Real Achievements
By Lee Sandford
If you made it out between the storms on Halloween weekend, you may have noticed more runners than usual, or certainly more serious-looking runners than usual. If you also noticed support teams on bikes and makeshift pit-stops, it’s likely they were participating, virtually, in the New York Marathon.
My recent trip to the United Kingdom coincided with the weekend of the London Marathon and I got to honk my horn in encouragement at a few runners there, too.
Having done the New York Marathon once, I’d certainly skip the hours shivering on Staten Island at the start. I spoke to several people and asked how they felt about running a marathon solo, round their hometown.
My cousin, who ran the London Marathon in her hometown in Scotland, said she enjoyed setting her own route around scenic roads, while factoring in bathroom availability, as well as being able to start when she wanted. She did, however, miss the crowds and speaking to others along the way, especially at the end. I asked her what had kept her inspired once she realized the race was going remote, and she responded: Raising money for her chosen charity and lots of social media support from the London Marathon organization.
In Rye, Elizabeth Ellis ran her virtual marathon on Saturday. She qualified for this year’s New York Marathon having finished last year’s in an impressively speedy time, so, she was naturally disappointed when it was canceled. However, she was determined to break four hours, so she decided to train and do it virtually, choosing a double loop of her normal training route around Rye. Her husband fired a nerf gun to mark the start, and he and their son were at the “finish-line”, a rope at the end of their driveway, with flowers and balloons. Elizabeth said she really felt the benefits of a good night’s sleep without worrying about race-day logistics, and modestly attributes her phenomenal time of 3:49 to those factors.
It should be noted that you don’t need to sign up for a full marathon to reap the rewards of having a goal to keep you going mentally and physically during these difficult times.
Marci Lyons of Rye had planned to take part in the Rome Half-Marathon, but it was cancelled when Italy shut down in April. Determined to stay motivated when workout options were limited, she signed up for Marathon Training Academy’s 100-mile challenge. There are various ways of completing the challenge and she signed up to run 100 miles in a month. According to Marathon’s website, over 18,000 people have taken the challenge. Marci said that logging those miles has helped her feel connected and part of a bigger, brighter picture.
Lindy Wolverton of Harrison discovered a walking challenge through One New York Cares, which is based out of Syracuse. She enjoyed the first challenge so much that she signed up for another! You can put together a team and opt for a portion of your signup fee to go to a charity of your choice, which for her team is the Carver Center. Lindy’s 1,000-mile challenge takes her, virtually, from Niagara Falls to the tip of Long Island. As you log your miles, you can see how far you are along on the journey. Each team member can sign up for a different distance. Her dog, Maybelle, signed up for the 200-mile challenge and is virtually making her way from Fenway Park to Yankee Stadium. Clever dog! The other members of Lindy’s team are her husband, children, brothers, and a niece.
There are lots of options for virtual races and challenges out there, and everyone I’ve spoken to said they want to keep on logging those miles. They added that they’re doubly glad when friends and family they haven’t been able to see take up the same challenge, because it’s a great way to stay in touch, and in the healthiest way.