Virtual Races

AUTHOR:  Jennifer Dynas
DATE:  06/24/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on many events faced with cancellations. Fairs, festivals, concerts and races are cancelled or postponed. Some organizations have become creative in still hosting a event, but doing it virtually.

runners feet.

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For three years in a row, I ran the Buffalo half marathon, taking last year off. I was ready to come back and run it again this year, but then the coronavirus happened. The Buffalo Marathon race committee made the decision to cancel and allow our entries to go towards the 2021 race.

Quarantined and working from home made me lazy very quickly. Not to mention I had snacks available whenever I wanted them. Then the Buffalo marathon decided to put on a virtual race: the 2020 Buffalo Marathon Summer Puzzle Challenge. It consisted of 4 distances to be run, at your own pace. You could run it all in one day or take it a mile at a time – it was totally up to you.

It consisted of a 5K (3.10 miles), a 10K (6.2 miles), a half marathon (13.1 miles) and a marathon (26.2 miles) totaling 48.6 miles to be completed between June 1st and August 9th. Each time you finished one of the distances, you earned a “puzzle piece” that ultimately makes up the medal, which is a buffalo wearing a mask. Not only does your $60.00 entry fee get you a t-shirt and a medal upon completion, but the Buffalo Marathon will also donate to three groups. You can vote on what groups you would like to receive the donations.

race medal.

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After you run, you log onto their site and upload your stats: how far you ran and the time. They keep track of your mileage and your average pace. My husband and I started this on June 8th and I made it into a sort of competition with him (unbeknownst to him).  I am happy to say that I finished the entire 48.6 miles yesterday, doing it entirely on the treadmill. As of this entry, he’s currently out running to try to catch up. We will pick up our medals and shirts after August 9th.

This race has sparked my desire to run again. Knowing there was a deadline pushed me into doing runs even on days I didn’t feel like running. There are a lot of virtual runs that you can find and join. It’s not the same excitement as running a race with thousands of people but you still feel like you’re part of a group. Our recreation department has even posted a virtual 8K that doesn’t cost anything. Everyone who finishes the race wins; you have strengthened your stamina and challenged your physical and mental endurance!

UB Recreation Virtual 8K

Check out more virtual races below!

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Jennifer Dynas

Assistant Director for Business and Technology


175 Alumni Arena

Phone: 716-645-5097