It is no secret that 2020 has been one of the most disruptive and upsetting years in recent memory. The world has not seen something of this nature in many years, where the majority of people have had to stay indoors for months due to a global pandemic. Even with positive news about various vaccines, there are still many months to go before we can approach anything like normal, and so it has not been surprising to see people come up with ways to enjoy their usual activities, but from the safety and comfort of their homes, rather than going outdoors.
One of the most innovative ways has been seen in the various marathons that take place all over the world every year. One such run, the Marathon Project, which is an elite event taking place in Arizona on 20th December, has also created a unique way by which people can participate while staying at home. The Marathon Project Virtual Challenge is open to people all over the world, where they can choose from the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon options in terms of race length, as well as a ‘Mileage Madness Challenge’. This challenge opened on 25th November, and will run till the date of the actual, in-person marathon, 20th December. Participants will receive a half zip top, a medal and will be eligible for entry into various raffles as well. Of course, they will need to submit GPS data in order to participate. The various distance marathons are quite simple – you need to run the required distance and post your time. However, for the Mileage Madness Challenge, participants will have to run as much distance as they can in the 26 days that the challenge will be live. As players run and update their progress online through GPS data, they will be entered into a global leaderboard and thus will be able to see where they rank among other participants across the world. At the end of the event, those with the top times in each category, as well as the most miles run in the Mileage Challenge, will be declared the winners. This is a great way to stay fit, as well as allowing those who participate in such marathons every year to do so while managing to stay safe as well, and connect with people from all over the world who are pursuing a similar interest and hobby at the same time.
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Of course, one of the challenges of the pandemic has been the inability to spend time physically with loved ones, whether they be friends or family. While this does not offer that option, it is still a fun way to spend time with people, so it may be worth inviting friends and family members to participate in this virtual challenge as well. Other online activities can also be done together, such as playing table games for money, like poker, blackjack and so on. People can create their own virtual tournaments in this manner, with medals, prizes and awards to make it even more exciting and competitive. Thus, setting up entertainment options and communal events like this, even though they will be online, is a great way to stay connected with friends and family this year.
Those looking to participate in the virtual Marathon Project event will need to pay C$65 as an entry fee. This will get them an official sweater, the same medal as that given to actual runners on the event day, as well as entry into various raffles. Additionally, $5 from every individual entry will be donated to the USATF Foundation, which works towards funding running events across the country.