Friday, September 25, 2020

Reflections on Virtual Races

The collective hearts of the running community ache for live races. We yearn for those pre-race hugs and high fives, seeing people we stay in contact with on Facebook but often only see in person at starting lines and post-race celebrations. We love to test our mettle racing against ourselves and the clock.

But as Amby Burfoot said:

The pandemic has tested our mettle in ways we could never have imagined. We yearn for a sense of normalcy to return to our lives and the lives of those we love. This morning's Boston Globe had a great article, "As we adjust to a new normal, lessons in grief and gratitude."

While we continue to mourn live events and all the joy that accompanies live events, I feel deeply grateful for the opportunity to participate in virtual events, support great causes and honor traditions for annual events. As Kara Baskin points out, it's okay to mourn whatever we are missing in our lives right now from that mocha latte you grab on the morning commute to loved ones who lost their lives in the pandemic.

Here's our line up of Virtual Races:

Tomorrow we pin on our bibs for Catie's Closet.

Our daughter volunteered with Catie's Closet to help sort clothes and toiletries that provide dignity to school age children living in poverty. With COVID-19, their needs are even greater this year. While there is no on site sorting of clothes, we discovered their Virtual 5K. The entry fee provides a new pair of sneakers to children living in poverty in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Virtual Event continues through September 30th. Be sure to visit their website and consider making a cash or in kind donation. Lace up your sneakers so kids can lace up theirs!

The first 10K race Ruth Anne and I ran was the Tufts 10K for women now named the Boston 10K For Women. What great memories we hold in our heart from October 2009 when we ran our fastest time on the road to the 2009 Boston Marathon and celebrated the 10K distance. Since 2009, I paced a friend to the finish line of her first 10K and ran my own PR in 2014.

Ruth Anne will be running her Virtual Boston 10K for Women on Columbus Day.

While she won't be running the route that features spectacular views of the Charles River and Boston as it loops around Cambridge and goes back into Boston, we will embrace the tradition of a race that holds many cherished memories for us.

Tom and I will loop the Reservoir in the opposite direction from Ruth Anne to run out Run for Ruth-We Dissent 5K.

Ruth Anne will use the 10K miles to log as part of her 87 mile challenge that will end on 11/3.

As part of Run for Ruth, runners get to donate to a charity that supports women's rights.

On 11/1, Tom and Ruth Anne will take to the 2nd half of the Boston Marathon course to run the Harvest Half Virtual Marathon.

Rather than do the Cape Cod Half Marathon as a Virtual Race, they deferred their race entries to 2021.

But they were psyched for a fall marathon. We did a search for Virtual Half Marathons. Ruth Anne was so excited to have the opportunity to support the Brentwood YMCA in Middle Tennessee where she attended Middle Tennessee State University as an undergrad.

The YMCA Race Series benefits the YMCA of Middle Tennessee. As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of children and teens, improves community health and well-being and supports people in need right in our own neighborhood.

By participating in the race, you're making an enduring, lasting impact in your community by giving everyone, regardless of age, income or background, the opportunities they need to learn, grow and thrive.

One of our favorite Thanksgiving Day traditions is running or volunteering at the Feaster Five 5K/5 Mile race hosted by the Merrimack Valley Striders.

There would be a 3 day Expo leading up to race day where we would experience the festivities of giving thanks and celebrating the holiday season with runner friends who are like family.

We are registered for the 5K which we will run in our neighborhood while the Thanksgiving turkey cooks. We will gather in social media to share our photos and give thanks for the gift of running in our lives.

There will be no live Jingle Bell Run events this year. This is the first year since 2015, that we are not training to travel to and run in Bermuda. I presume there will be no Camp Hyannis aka Hyannis Marathon Weekend this year and even the 2021 Boston Marathon is in question. We are hopeful that the Falmouth Road Race and Cape Cod Marathon Weekends will be able to return next year.

Yet, for the foreseeable future, Virtual Races will be the order of the day and Team McManus will continue to be a part of the Virtual Races community supporting great causes and using them to keep our passion and deep gratitude and appreciation for the sport alive and well!

To learn more about my journey to the sport of running after having been diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disease, be sure to visit my website at

My books are available on Amazon

To your health and well being
From my heart to yours

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