Virtual Events and ‘Run in the Dark’
Like everything else in the current climate, running isn’t what it used to be. We’ve seen races and running events postponed, some cancelled altogether and lots going virtual. Some of us may find we are actually running less than we used to. However, I do keep noticing a lot more people out running.
Perhaps this is down to gyms and sports clubs being closed. Or maybe, people are getting stir crazy and starting to recognise that walking and running not only benefits us physically but also our mental and emotional wellness too. It seems, despite all of the restrictions placed upon us, many people have taken to pounding the pavements and are sharing their experiences on social media.
Fortunately, running and walking are still some of the forms of sport or exercise we are allowed to participate in during the pandemic, through solo running or in small social distanced groups, depending on the government guidelines at the time. All things considered, it’s no wonder why race organisers have chosen to take their events virtual. Virtual events are becoming the new norm due to the impact of Covid and restrictions on mass gatherings.
What are Virtual Events?
Virtual events and races are different from the standard in-person events. You can complete them in your own location or are up to you where you decide to run. Distances can vary, as do the number of runs. They can be a single run or even a month-long event with several runs, for example, a mileage accumulator.
When I saw the ‘Run in the Dark‘ virtual race advertised, I jumped at the chance. It didn’t take much convincing. There was a free fluorescent yellow long-sleeved t-shirt, a flashing LED arm pouch for your keys or mobile phone all included in the price. Oh, let’s not forget the all-important keepsake, in the form of a medal we all love. Plus, the event date worked for me, as I was looking to gradually build my running distances back to 10k after a slight strain on my left calf. It was a no brainer!
Run in the Dark
‘Run in the Dark’ is the primary fundraiser of the Mark Pollock Trust, named after the blind adventurer, athlete, and rower, Mark Pollock. Unfortunately, Mark suffered a spinal cord injury in 2010 in an accident when he fell from a second-story window, which left him paralysed. Before this time, Pollock was an avid rower and won bronze and silver medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Rowing Championships. He had also competed in ultra-endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps. Mark also became the first blind person to race to the South Pole.
Usually, the event is run side by side in cities in multiple countries. The concept is a fun run at night, welcome to all abilities to take part to either walk or run 5km or 10km. In the last ten years, over 120,000 runners, from 72 locations have taken part in ‘Run in the Dark’, which has amounted to an impressive combined distance of 19 times around the globe!
As I had not quite reached the 10km distance, I plotted a reasonably flat route in the local parish. Where I live is quite hilly, so of course, there was a couple of slopes to contend with but nothing major. In fact, across the whole of the 10 km, there was a combined elevation total of 71 meters, so a pretty flat run considering.
The ‘Run in the Dark‘ event had an app you could download to record your run on your phone and the event leader board. It also tracked your teammates and other participants around the globe on a virtual event route. I recorded both on my watch and on the app. Interestingly my Garmin calculated that I had finished the 10k before the app did. There was a difference of around 2 minutes, so although the app said 01:14:38, I finished in 1:12:32.
A friend and running buddy kept me company, as it was my first continuous attempt at 10 km in a quite a long while. It was also a chance for a natter and catch-up. I am pleased to say I managed to run for the whole distance. And, for some fun, we wore glowsticks to light up the dark!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post.
Happy running everyone! :-)
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