You can cancel the race but you can’t cancel the runners
April 6, 2020
Why Racing Events highlights the human spirit during Virtual Run
Vancouver, WA Why Racing Events proved that you can cancel the race, but you can’t cancel the runners.
Being located in Washington state, the initial epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, they were one of the first events cancelled in the country. One week prior to the annual Couve Clover Run, all events above 250 people were ordered to cancel. Sherri McMillan, race director explains “we had to choose whether to cancel or to take our event virtual. Our goal is to improve the health and fitness of our community and provide an opportunity to help our athletes set a goal, train to accomplish that goal and feel a sense of accomplishment once they cross the finish line. We realized we could still accomplish our mission even though we couldn’t be together physically with our athletes. I’m so happy that we made that decision. The photos and videos are so emotional. They literally made me cry to see the dedication of our athletes and the human spirit in motion!”
Athletes ran alone or with their family and uploaded photos and videos. The photo album and official race video show athletes dressed in the festive green costumes and their finisher’s shirts with official race bib running through empty streets, setting up mock finish lines, enjoying a post-race beverage, and showing off their medals.
McMillan continues “the video really does show the strength of character in our athletes. It shows that when presented with an obstacle, you can adapt and figure out what you CAN do versus what you can’t do. We weren’t together physically but clearly we came together in SPIRIT! It’s a great reminder of what we all did together during a very challenging time in our world.”
The Couve Clover Run typically has about 2000 people and despite the cancellation of the live event, nearly 1500 athletes still completed the virtual run/walk.
A highlight of the footage is seeing how many kids participated in the virtual event. McMillan continues ‘287 kids did the virtual event and I love that parents are teaching kids valuable lessons as we all navigate through these scary times. We’re teaching them that we can’t control what’s going on but we can control our response and attitude.”
The event was also able to raise nearly $4000 for the Foundation of Vancouver Public Schools and SHARE. “We did something good for our physical and mental health, stress release and enjoyed a boost to our immune system while also continuing to help our community. We needed something like this more now that ever! Our top Fundraiser was 8-year old Abby Hagley who raised $795.57. That just makes us so proud that we could still do something positive together” says McMillan.
Athletes were instructed to post their times if they wanted to be part of the official race results and receive an official finisher’s certificate. Why Racing is even hosting a virtual awards ceremony to congratulate the overall champions. “The only difference is it’s BYOB style for our virtual party” says McMillan. Results can be viewed here.