Sports Backers Launch Second Edition of ‘Great American 5000’ Virtual Team Race Across America

February 23, 2021

Feeding America to serve as event charity partner for 5,000-kilometer challenge

Richmond, VA – After a highly-successful inaugural running of the Great American 5000 in 2020 that featured over 4,500 runners from all 50 states and 24 countries, Sports Backers is announcing the second edition of the virtual team race across America will kick off on Saturday, April 10. Registration is now open at www.GreatAmerican5000.org.

In the endurance challenge, participating teams compete with the aim of covering the 5,000-kilometer (3,100-mile) distance of a pre-selected course between San Francisco and New York. Teams have until June 30 to complete the trek, with running, walking, and hiking all counting towards the total mileage. The full course can be viewed at www.sportsbackers.org/events/great-american-5000/course/.

During the event, teams of up to 12 or 24 members will collectively log miles each day and, using aGPS-enabled tracking system, upload their mileage to the event website. An online map will track each group’s virtual progress across the course and a live leaderboard will display the standings in real time, with groups in male, female, and co-ed categories. The first group to virtually ‘reach’ the finish line in New York will be declared the winner. All participants will receive an event shirt, unique finisher medal, virtual finisher’s badge, and virtual travel experience with destination highlights featured along the route.

The Great American 5000 appeals to a broad spectrum of athletes, from recreational to elite, and the 2021 field will once again include Keira D’Amato and her fellow members on Team Studs. In 2020, Team Studs, made up of D’Amato and eleven other elite female runners from across the United States, engaged in a battle with Team Slugs, organized by D’Amato’s husband. The Great American 5000 was just one of many running highlights for D’Amato in 2020, as she also set a new American Record in the women’s 10 mile (51:23), and recorded the 10th fastest U.S. all-time women’s half marathon time (68:57) and seventh-fastest U.S. all-time women’s marathon time (2:22:56). She heads into this year’s event after turning pro in early February and is looking forward to the spirited competition with other teams.

“When everything shut down in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was so impressed with Sports Backers’ ability to think outside of the box and offer the community a safe and innovative virtual event. I appreciate that they’ve found a fun, engaging team challenge to encourage everyone to continue staying active,” D’Amato said of the event. “Last year, my husband and I took our family feud to the Great American 5000, where my husband’s Team Slugs narrowly beat my Team Studs, composed of 12 of the nation’s top female distance runners. We think there was some funny business and we demand a rematch. Coming to you at the 2021 Great American 5000: Studs vs Slugs the SEQUEL.”

Feeding America (www.FeedingAmerica.org) will once again serve as the event charity partner of the Great American 5000. During the event, groups and participants can use their platform to raise funds and awareness for Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Thanks to donations, the Feeding America network of food banks, pantries, and meal programs, including Feed More (www.FeedMore.org) in Central Virginia, serves virtually every community in the United States, reaching 40 million people, including 12 million children and seven million seniors. Participants in the 2020 Great American 5000 raised over $22,000 for Feeding America.

“The experience of traveling across America is a dream for a lot of people, and we set out to make the dream seem a little more real with the Great American 5000,” said Jon Lugbill, Executive Director of Sports Backers. “What makes it even more exciting and impactful is the opportunity for participants to take part in a team competition and stay connected with each other during the event, while also raising money for Feeding America and supporting those in need.”

“The consensus among our team is that this was one of the most incredible events we’ve ever participated in,” said TJ Dailey of the Indiana-based Meshingomesia Track Club, the first team to cross the finish line in the 2020 Great American 5000. “We all agree that this is the perfect test for a runner, and as a matter of fact, it’s the perfect test for the human spirit. You have to have an equal mix of speed, endurance, consistency, determination, and humility to win this thing, because there is no other event like it. You also have to have 100 percent confidence in your team, especially when the event is virtual, and you’re spread across the country. That is where this event separates itself.”

The Great American 5000 begins in San Francisco and traverses 12 states on its trek across the U.S., ending in New York City. Along the way, participants pass world-famous structures from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Empire State Building, travel through numerous state parks and geographical wonders like the Yampa Valley of Colorado, and experience roadside attractions and oddities that are pure Americana.

In addition to the real-time leaderboard available during the Great American 5000, teams will receive photos, information, and fun facts about the destinations visited along the route, allowing them to virtually take in the rich mix of history, geography, and culture to be experienced throughout the United States. Full event details and registration are currently available at www.GreatAmerican5000.org.


About Sports Backers

With a key message of Let’s Go, RVA, the mission of Sports Backers is to inspire people from all corners of our community to live actively. A non-profit organization, Sports Backers is dedicated to producing nationally recognized quality sporting events and programs that motivate residents and visitors alike to be more active, supporting youth running and fitness programs, and advocating for safe and connected networks of bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Learn more at sportsbackers.org.