Have you ever run a virtual race? Well, I hadn’t either. So when I heard about the #RunAtCan Solstice Run back in October, I decided that NOT running it wouldn’t be an option!
I learned about the Solstice Run after joining in a Twitter chat. Every Sunday at 4pm Pacific time, @RunAtCan (i.e. Run Atlantic Canada) hosts the #RunAtCan chat. Although I’m way on the other side of the country, I loved connecting with the folks in the Maritimes. And that great thing about a virtual race is that time zones don’t matter!
@RunAtCan is managed by Paul Merrigan (@BTBogtrotters), and he reached out to me directly to get my mailing address – no in-person package pickup for this event! And I waited patiently for my bib to arrive at the office, where I usually have deliveries sent.
The Solstice arrived chilly and dark, as Winter Solstices tend to do, but my bib didn’t arrive at all. And, to be quite honest, the holiday season had kind of gotten away from me, so I literally had no time to run that day. Alas, I thought, no Solstice Run for me.
Thursday, December 22 – my last day in the office before the holidays – and a package appears on my desk. It was meant to be! Solstice Run, although a day late, could still happen! Yes, there were a few drinks after work…but as soon as I got home, I opened my delivery:
Not only a bib, but several glow sticks and a pair of glow glasses!
I bundled up, pinned my bib to my SPIBelt, and donned my Noxgear Running vest (save 35% on your very own Noxgear product with discount code BRADLEYRUN) – and headed out into the darkness.
About a kilometre into my run, I realized I had forgotten to bring a glowstick with me! Never mind – I will find some use for them in the coming months – winter isn’t over yet!
I ran along the beach to English Bay, where the Lumiere Orca was glowing.
Then I headed into the true darkness toward Second Beach in Stanley Park, stopping only to catch my breath and a slightly creepy glow-in-the-dark selfie.
Looping back along the Seawall, a herd of headlamps galloped past in the midst of a serious training run. I may have known them, but couldn’t see any faces as they rushed by. And then I headed home.
Another nice thing about a virtual race – or, at least, this one – is that you can choose your own distance. The point of the event is to bring people together across the miles, to acknowledge the Solstice and #FightTheDark as the days start to get longer. Since my bib number was 53, I chose to run 5.3 kilometres. It wasn’t a fast race, but I wasn’t competing against anyone else. I brought some light into the Vancouver darkness, and had a great run!
I also learned that part of every registration went directly to the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick. Many people suffer from anxiety and depression, especially during the dark winter months. So this race also represented a chance to #BeTheLight – both literally and symbolically. I would encourage you to consider donating to this association here, or to one of the mental health associations in your local area.
And so ended my very first Virtual Race! A big thanks to Paul for putting this event together, and congratulations to everyone across the country who participated! Apparently, being in BC, I was the ‘furthest’ registrant in the race!
Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season – hoping that it brings peace, healing, joy and time with family and friends!
Share your virtual race experiences with me!