Edmonton runners train for virtual season as COVID-19 causes cancellation of in-person races

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Racing events and runners are adapting to the second year of COVID-19 public health measures.

Grant Fedoruk, founder of the Leading Edge Physiotherapy RunWild Marathon and Event, said this year they are going virtual after having to cancel last year’s race due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We immediately started to look at ways that we might be able to still keep the event going because of course it supports so many amazing charities that are so dear to us and also the communities that we’re in,” Fedoruk said.

“From that day we started to kind of challenge ourselves to come up with a way that we could still hold the event, in the event that things were still not going to be in person a year later.”

RunWild takes place on June 12 and 13 and is hosting a 5K run/walk, a 10K run/walk, a half marathon as well as a 1.2 kilometre children’s race aimed at kids between five and 12 years old. But by going virtual, Fedoruk said participants are encouraged to do it on their own time.

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“We have routes set up throughout the province for people to run, and what we don’t want happening is everybody just showing up at a route for instance, and having a whole bunch of people running a route at the same time,” he said.

Participants will be mailed a bib and T-shirt and can download their RunWild race route on the running app of their choice.

“What they’ll do is take a picture of themselves with their time and show their bib number and the time that it took them and they’ll actually be on our leaderboard showing what they did and they’ll be able to compare themselves against all of the other amazing (participants),” Fedoruk said.

All proceeds from the local event will go towards the Zebra Child Protection Centre, the St. Albert Seniors Association and the Pilgrims Hospice Society.

Going virtual also means they can have more reach. Those who sign up for the event in Calgary, for example, will have their registration and the money they raise go towards the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre.

As racing events bring the community and people together, Fedoruk said they looked at how to recreate that feeling virtually. That’s where the idea of an app came in catered to both children and adults.

On the kid’s side, they can grow a baby zebra by accomplishing tasks developed alongside the Alberta curriculum.

“That can be all kinds of activities, from accessing a local library for a book … to going outside and doing jumping jacks, to going and completing a certain amount of distance on a run as they’re training toward running the race,”   Fedoruk said.

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On the adult side, there are informational videos available to download on topics such as taking care of your body and improving performance.

The app will be available to download on iOS and Android. While general registration wraps at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, last minute registration will continue through to June 4.

Meanwhile, Rhys Morgan is hoping his marathon events scheduled later this year and next will be able to take place in person. He is running them in an effort to raise $125,000 for Little Warriors, a national, charitable organization focused on awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.

The marathoner plans to run the Grizzly Ultra Marathon, a 50K race in Canmore this October and the Canadian Death Race, a 125K race across three mountains in Grande Cache, Alberta in August 2022.

“As it stands right now, the event organizers are currently thinking of going ahead in October. That being said, if it’s not going to go ahead, I’ll be running this on my own in Canmore to replicate the event,” Morgan said.

“Hopefully next year the pandemic won’t have stopped the event. If it has, I’ll be running on my own in Grande Cache to try and replicate the Canadian Death Race.”

ajunker@postmedia.com

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