Virtual 5K Races 2020

With so many races being cancelled due to COVID-19, it’s nice to have the option to run a virtual 5K and support local causes that need your support now more than ever.

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Have you ever run a virtual 5K race before?

Until April 20th of 2020, I’d never run virtual 5K races or any other type of virtual races. Running a “race” by myself just seems like a training run to me.

On training runs, I never run as hard as I do during a race.  And the virtual 5k races I’ve run have felt like training runs.

Virtual races allow us to have some fun. Maybe provide the motivation we need to go for a run and our race fees are helping local organizations who really need our support right now.

Virtual 5K Races

It seems like virtual 5K races are everywhere this year but mainly in your in-box.

If you are like me you get emails for virtual races almost every day.

And like me, you’ve probably gotten way too many emails from races you signed up for, informing you that they are going virtual.

My running club, Melrose Running Club, held two virtual races the weekend the Boston Marathon was supposed to take place.

We had the “Keep Your Distance 5K” and the “Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon” on the weekend of April 20th. Everyone had a good time with it.

We ran the Cinco De Mayo QuaranTeam Virtual challenge on May 5th and will be running the Stepping Stones for Stella 5K and 10K the weekend of June 21st.

The way things are going we will probably be going virtual for the rest of the year.

Can you imagine crowding into a corral before a race?

How about running down the street behind and betwixt hundreds of other runners? All breathing deeply and exhaling forcefully?

There’s a lot of sweat, snot and spit flying during a race. That’s on top of being in everyone else’s space and breathing their air.

Finding Virtual 5K races 2020

As I mentioned above, you probably have more emails than you want announcing new virtual 5K races, 10K and even half marathons.

I’m running two virtual half marathons. God help me!

So between your in-box and the web site of your local race management or timing company, you can probably find more virtual races than you’d care to.

Since you can run a virtual race anywhere and you don’t have to go anywhere, pick a race that supports a cause dear to your heart. Perhaps one that raises funds to thank and support our healthcare providers and first responders.

A few Virtual 5Ks to choose from

Miles 4 My Community – May 23rd. This is a nation-wide effort to raise Virtual racemoney to support local youth sports programs and other local organizations impacted by COVID-19. You can run a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon for a $20 donation. Larger amounts will be accepted.

Registration includes a virtual bib and for $10 each you can order a shirt and a medal.

You track your results with your GPS watch or an app. They are not exactly clear on how to submit your results. That information may be in the registration confirmation email.

Sign up using code ‘maskon’ and you’ll receive a custom printed running gaiter with your registration!

Margarita virtual 5K

Margarita 5KJune 14th.  This race was scheduled to take place in Portsmouth, NH but now it can take place in your neighborhood.

For this race they will mail your shirt, bib and medal. So you can run around your neighborhood in the race shirt, with a bib. When you get home you can mix your own margarita and show off your medal.

The 5K is $39. There is also the Margarita Half for $79. Swag for the half includes a nice quarter zip fleece.

2020 Boston Run Fest Virtual – June 19-21 Registration is free and you can run a 5K, 10K or half-marathon.

Boston Road Runners, Boston Run FestBoston Road Runners is a local non-profit to inspire youth to run. Our vision is to create a community of runners to support one another while giving back. The Boston Run Fest will benefit the youth to support their runs through youth runs, youth running programs, and create a safe space for youth to gain confidence.

The run is open and free we encourage everyone to make a donation to support our non-profit.

Stepping Stones for StellaJune 21st.   This race is free with a donation appreciated to support their work. Click the image below for details.

Stepping Stones for Stella, virtual 5K race
Click to learn more

Smuttynose 5K – June 21st.  This race is still scheduled to happen at the Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton, NH. Loco Running does have a COVID 19 notice on the race web page stating that they may have to go virtual.

You will still get a shirt, bib and medal but no beer or BBQ.

I think it’s a safe bet that this will be a virtual race.

Smuttynose Will Run 5K for Beer, Virtual 5K

Of course you can make up your own virtual 5K race and make a donation to a local food pantry.

Run well my Friends and stay healthy!

Andy

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Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020

Since all of our races are cancelled our club decided to run virtual races this weekend in honor of The Boston Marathon.

Since the BAA 5K and Boston Marathon have been postponed, our former club president Dan Slattery came up with the idea of running virtual races this weekend.

He proposed either a half or a 5K.

I hi-jacked his idea and added these virtual races to the Melrose Running Club Racing Series. If we wait for real races we wont be running until July.

So I created the Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon and the Keep Your Distance 5K.

Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020

I’ve been running about 10 miles a week, so running a half marathon seemed like a good idea.

I also thought it would be a good idea to run the Keep Your Distance 5K and then keep on running for another 13.1 miles. For a total of 16.2 miles.

It was not a good idea and I do not recommend this to anyone.

I’m under trained and well fed. Not what you need before taking on a half marathon.

I was smart enough to gather all of my gear the night before. I knew it would be in the 30’s when I left and in the 50’s when I returned. So I layered and wore gloves, winter hat and a neck gator or what ever you call those things!

I woke up around 6:00 AM and my phone said it was still 34°, so I rolled over for a snooze. Around 6:30 the temp was 36° and I knew it was time to go.

Out the Door You Go

My Garmin is a few years old and it took about ten minutes to lock onto satellites. It gets a little chilly standing around in shorts that long. But I was committed.

I planned to run the Keep Your Distance 5K and the Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon. The route I chose was a little over 15 miles so I ran down a side street to add some distance.

To do both races I needed to run 16.2 miles. I thought I could do it.

I’ve been averaging less than 10 miles per week, so this wasn’t the brightest idea.

I started running at 7:55 AM and thought I had started too late. The later you go out the more traffic there is.

Running through Medford Square I didn’t even have to wait for the lights.

I ran up High Street to Winthrop Circle and only had to contend with two cars!

I continued through West Medford toward The Mystic Valley Parkway.

Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020, West MedfordWhen I hit 3.1 miles I stopped to take a selfie and paused my watch so I could count that distance.

Running The Virtual-ly Insane Half

The Mystic Valley Parkway is a nice run. On a Sunday there are usually many runners, cyclists and walkers. The breakdown lanes, or bike lanes, are wide most of the way.

There were more runners than I expected and fewer cyclists. Only about half the runners wore masks. I even saw three women running together without masks.

When I approached a runner or walker I’d pull up my neck gator. While an N95 mask is supposed to stop 95% of the bad stuff getting into your lungs, my thin neck warmer is probably an N5 filter.

Pulling it over my nose felt more like a fashion statement than actually doing something.

I’ve gone to the store in an N95 mask and it’s so hard to breathe I usually start sweating! Not a good thing to do in public these days!

There is no way that I could run in an N95 mask.

At about six miles The MVP takes a short jog onto Bacon Street and then a left back onto The MVP into Winchester.

When I stopped at 5K, my watch added a “lap” which added a virtual mile to my run.

Virtual-ly Insane Half 2020

I hit seven miles just as I turned onto Forrest Street by the Gingerbread Bakery. The next mile had 92 feet of elevation gain.

My left knee had begun to ache so I had to walk some of this.

At this point, my dreams of running 16.2 miles began to evaporate just like a PR on Marathon Monday.

After I crossed 93 I took a right onto Park Street. I should have continued down the road to Main Street. I always miss this turn when I run this course alone.

Park took me to North Border Road where I took a left onto Main Street in Stoneham. Not far down the road I passed Nicole Jacob.

Due to the pandemic and people not staying out of the woods and walking crowded trails, the Sheep Fold parking lot was closed.

I saw on the news that the DCR had closed some areas of The Middlesex Fells. I didn’t realize that they had closed the road from the Sheep Fold all the way down to Elm Street in Medford!

They were not fooling around either! There was a State Trooper in his car and a snowplow truck in the other lane. This was in addition to those steel fences they use on Marathon Monday.

As I ran down the empty road I began to venture into the middle of the road. Normally I would not dare to do this.

As I got to the turn onto Elm Street I saw Dan Slattery. We ran together for a bit but he took off on the hill!

When we got to the rotary by Flynn Rink He went left and I went right onto Highland Ave.

At this point I knew I was only going to get in the half. My knee hurt and my hips were tight. A sure sign of not enough training and stretching.

About half way down the avenue towards Fellsway East I walked and had a Honey Stinger cookie. So good! They need to be a little larger.

As I walked I saw a turkey standing in someone’s front walk gobbling away. Someone was standing in the doorway with the storm door closed. Not sure if the guy was amused or scared to leave his house! I was amused.

Finishing my Run

There wasn’t any traffic so I crossed The Fellsway and continued down Highland Ave into Malden. I still had hopes of adding on a little bit here and there to get me to 16.2.

I passed a few other runners and they all waved.

Just before Pleasant Street I hit 13 miles. I was going to get the half done at least!

I hit 14 miles running down Spring Street towards home. I thought about jogging a few side streets but things hurt too much. I thought maybe I could run the 5K on Monday if I don’t mess myself up too much on this run!

So I managed 14.52 miles in 2:28:55 with an elevation gain of 364 feet. On an easier course I may have managed the last 1.8 miles.

My first virtual race hurt just as much as any other race!

Run well my Friends and stay Healthy!

Andy