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Michigan residents taking part in virtual racing during pandemic

Virtual racing getting people out and motivated

DETROIT – More people are taking part in virtual racing during the pandemic.

For many, it can be fun seeing so many people on the screen. Runners are competing against others and doing it virtually.

While vacations and plans have been canceled during the pandemic, running continues and remains a priority for many.

A lot of people are racing, staying safe and getting the group interaction safely.

Typically when runners show up at a race they go to the start line to run a 5k to a 10k against the hundreds or thousands.

Now they are racing virtually. Here’s how it works. Runners grab their laptops, many while they are on their front steps, and join a Zoom while waiting for the race announcer. Once they get the green light from the race announcer they hit the streets by themselves to start the race.

Melissa Fury, a virtual race runner in South Lyon, is getting ready for her next competition. The 54-year-old runs 10k races and half marathons.

However, once the stay-at-home order was handed down, all of her races were cancelled.

RELATED: Michigan Gov. Whitmer extends stay-at-home order until June 12, state of emergency until June 19

“At first your motivation kind of went away,” said Fury.

She didn’t lose all of her motivation. Fury decided to take part in virtual racing. She showed Local 4 photos of herself in different racing T-shirts representing all the races she has competed in during the quarantine.

In one clip from a recent virtual epic race, you can see the race announcer who gets things going on Zoom, then runners head out to run by themselves.

“Having a group together, seeing their faces enjoying their goals makes me feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing,” said Race Director for Epic Races, Eva Soloman.

She starting promoting virtual racing, which can offer flexibility, after all her races were canceled due to the coronavirus.

“A virtual race is a race you do on your own course, your own time, usually within a parameter of dates,” said Soloman.

Ken Monash is a virtual race runner and trains and competes in his Saline neighborhood.

“Running is my salvation. It helps me maintain my sanity at this time,” said Monash.

Monash says he misses the group runs, and seeing his runner friends at the start line, but the Zoom interaction is helping him get through the pandemic.

“It’s fun seeing everybody on the screen,” said Monash. “I feel connected.”

There are all sorts of competitions including a yoga, run, and meditation race.

Many are participating as first timers who say they like challenging themselves this way and avoiding the crowds.

“For most people it works, they have that accountability. They know they signed up so they better do it by this date,” said Soloman.

It’s not the way they like to race, but it gets them out and motivated and in shape for when racing will return to what they once knew.

For more information on virtual racing, here here.


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