Virtual Running

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss

When a virtual buddy of mine asked if I’d be interested in running a virtual 5K, I imagined strapping on a helmet with goggles that would stream a 3.1 mile course through kaleidoscope scenery from the Magical Mystery Tour before crossing the finish line without ever breaking a sweat. Then I received a packet in the mail with a bib number, medal and Thank You letter for participating in the Independence Day Virtual 5K Run/Walk, Relay for Life supporting the American Cancer Society. Hmmm… this is for real!

The Independence Day Virtual 5K Run/Walk, Relay for Life was a creation of Chuck Douros, a fellow-runner, writer and organic gardener from California. Chuck and I have a strong virtual relationship that evolved from our common interest and themes we write about in our blogs. Chuck contacted me several months ago with the idea to sponsor a 5K to raise money for cancer patient services, education, research and advocacy. I told him that I was in. When he asked if I’d donate a few copies of Twenty-four Years to Boston to raffle to the first runners who registered, I said, “Of course!”

The day of the race I was in Point Pleasant, New Jersey for a beach wedding of a friend’s daughter. I walked down to the lobby in the morning and bumped into another friend’s daughter who’d just returned from a run. When I told her I was on my way to run a virtual 5K, she asked, “What the hell is a virtual 5K?” Let me fill you in:

The concept of the virtual run is that you register and then run the distance wherever you want, so people who participated in the race literally ran in locations around the country on the same day for the same cause. Down the shore on July 4th for a wedding, you can imagine how happy I was that it was only a 5K. Anything longer would have been cruel and unusual punishment.

View pictures and messages the runners posted on the Virtual 5K Facebook Page. I didn’t have my iPhone with me for the run, so the best I could do was the picture below and Vine I shot at the wedding.

Point Pleasant, NJ, beach where I ran the Independence Day Virtual 5K

Point Pleasant, NJ, beach where I ran the Independence Day Virtual 5K

I want to thank Chuck for taking the initiative to coordinate the Virtual 5K. You are a true humanitarian, Chuck. You can visit his website at http://www.chuckdouros.com/Home.html and his blog at runwritedig.

 

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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14 Responses to Virtual Running

  1. you need to do more to encourage us walkers! I meant to forward a neat article about this year’s BIX7 – I think my son finished it with a 6 minute mile (that might be all wrong, I’m awful at rememebering this stat stuff) and what was better? His starry eyed look when he said “and I didn’t even try mom.” I do know that there was the elite runners, then another very small back of runners, and then his pack. In my book then he was at the top of the heap. I’ll look for the article – the African winner (M’Eb I think? Last name with a K) of the Boston marathon won here of course – a few years in a row. And after Boston he did a lot of supportive runs – one was that he got x amount of donation for every runner he passed – and it was a gigantic run, so the charity hit the pot. Someone invited me to one of these virtual runs and it confused me…I get it now…facinating – I will look into it…be well Jim!

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      I agree about encouraging walkers, and will keep your suggestion in mind. Your son can flat out fly, Kate. Six minute miles in a seven mile race “without even trying” is incredible. I haven’t see a six minute mile in decades. Meb Keflezighi is an Olympic Silver Medalist in the marathon, and considered one of the best American marathoners in many, many years. Thanks for sharing the story about BIX, it brings back memories of the days I traveled to Davenport, Iowa. Keep after me and one day you’ll convince me to make the trip and run the race.

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  2. I was glad to do it… very rewarding indeed. I learned a few things about the process, so the next one should be even better! Thanks Jim, for donating your books as raffle prizes to our racers. It kept the weeks leading up to the event interesting. If memory serves, you don’t keep your medals to yourself these days… you gift them to your grandkids? Did I remember that right? Well, I hope the lucky recipient enjoys it. 🙂 Thanks again, sir.

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      Chuck, I received a lot of positive feedback about your virtual 5K, both in the blogosphere and personally. I even had readers interested in the idea for other events, like cycling and motorcycling. Very cool! Many of my medals these days do go to my grandkids; they get a kick out of wearing them. I still have a load of them from over the decades sitting in a box, and must admit a rare few are in my office, like Boston, Bermuda and Run the Rockies. Oh, and I keep a Rock n Roll medal in my backpack because it serves as a bottle opener, the only functional medal I ever received.
      Be well, my friend.
      jim

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  3. I think it’s a great idea, too! I sometimes enter virtual 5k races as they force me to do a speed workout, if nothing else! 😉

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  4. Kyle Kuns says:

    Nice post. I like the virtual run idea. Someday I might need to use that for virtual hiking 🙂 Maybe I should also consider quoting The Lorax too …

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  5. LB says:

    What a great idea! Thousands of people running at the same time, where ever they may be … and all for a good cause! How incredible that he came up with this idea!
    Hmmm … I wonder if that Idea can be shared?

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      Yes, LB, it was a first for me, and it is a cool idea. I see no reason it can’t be shared. I can’t imagine the idea being patented. Perhaps you could organize a virtual cycle tour.
      Be well,
      jim

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  6. runner500 says:

    A great idea.

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