In wake of the current global pandemic, all physical road races and track meets this spring have been either canceled or postponed to the fall. Despite the recent positive news regarding some states and counties gradually returning to ”normal” daily activities, it is still likely we will not see any physical road races here in Pennsylvania for the majority if not the entirety of this summer due to guidelines cautioning large gatherings.
Early summer is historically one of the busiest times of the year for road races in the United States and the running community is currently attempting to fill the gap left by the physical race cancellations. Wolf Creek Race Management has decided to launch the Run Pennsylvania Virtual Challenge in order to give local, regional, and national runners and walkers an interesting and motivational challenge this summer: run and, or walk 310 miles (the distance across Pennsylvania via I-80) between June 1st and July 31st. A 191 mile north to south distance is also being offered. For the most adventurous, we are also offering the Run Pennsylvania Ultra that travels from Erie to Philadelphia for a total of 522 miles.
Many runners and walkers are used to group runs and races, especially in the summer. Now with this pandemic situation, many are unable to gather in groups and really miss the camaraderie that they have had in the past. The Run Pennsylvania Virtual Challenge aims to combat some of that loneliness this summer by offering participants the opportunity to track their activities on the registration page. After each run or walk, a participant can click on the “Results” tab and then select “submit virtual results.” There you will be able to look up your registration and submit your activities. You can submit as many activities as you want. Within a couple of minutes of updating your activities, your new total milage for the challenge will show on the public results board. There you will be able to see where you rank and your progress across the state on an interactive map.
This is a really unique and new type of challenge that has largely come about due to innovation in the face of this pandemic. Through much of this spring, many runners have had motivational issues due to their perception that they have nothing to train for. The last couple of months have been the most uncertain time the modern events industry has ever seen. Run Pennsylvania and other similar events are here to provide a real service to runners and walkers. Hopefully, we will all be able to get back to physical races in the fall or sooner and this challenge will provide us with great training to meet our goals.
Nearly every industry has been negatively impacted due to this pandemic. This has put a strain on many charitable organizations. That is why Run Pennsylvania is making a push to raise funds for five local Pennsylvania nonprofits:
- Philabundance – Seeking to Drive Hunger from Our Communities Today and End Hunger Forever
- Urban Impact – Serving the Youth of Pittsburgh for over 20 years
- Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium – Seeking to Fundraise for an Emergency Operating Fund to Support the Care of 7,000 Animals while the Zoo is closed to Visitors
- Moraine Preservation Fund – Develops Wildlife Restoration Projects and other Park Enhancements
- Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail Club – Seeking Funding for further Development and Improvement of the Knox Kane Rail Trail in North Central PA
The Run Pennsylvania Virtual Challenge is open to anyone who lives in the United States, not just Pennsylvanians. You can register up until the end of the challenge on 7/31 but in order to be guaranteed a t-shirt and other giveaways, you must register by 7/14.
To register or make a donation, visit https://runsignup.com/runpa