For some, running in an organized race might start as a New Year’s resolution. Or perhaps it’s a longstanding tradition, circling the calendar for the big July competition and making sure your running shoes and smart watches can take you the distance. Although COVID-19 has made mass gatherings an impossibility, many races are carrying on with a virtual version of their race, which will still give people the ability to connect through competition while supporting their community. “It’s fun to get folks involved in something that’s unique and kind of different,” says LakewoodAlive executive director Ian Andrews, who will host its annual Lakewood Summer Meltdown run virtually. Here are three virtual race options for competitors who are looking to get their running fix.
Lakewood Summer Meltdown
Runners can choose to follow the actual Meltdown 5K course, which starts off at Detroit and Belle avenues and takes you through the scenic streets of Lakewood, or runners can compete anywhere else they want. “They’ve got a little more than two weeks to run a 5K. They can do it at home, they can do it out on the sidewalk, they can do it wherever they want. We want everyone to be able to have fun and do it any way that they’re able to,” says LakewoodAlive executive director Ian Andrews. Prizes include a special edition Virtual 5K commemorative T-shirt, a voucher for a buy one, get one free token redeemable at Beer Garden during the 2021 Lakewood Summer Meltdown, along with prizes for top finishers in each category. There is also a finisher medal available for purchase for $5. Registration ends July 30 and the proceeds go to LakewoodAlive, a community-centered nonprofit that fosters and sustains vibrant neighborhoods. Participants have from July 15-July 31 to complete their race. lakewoodalive.com
FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay
One of the bigger marathons in the country with more than 10,000 participants last year, the Akron marathon had to pivot fast to accommodate the demand for the event, and one of the ways it is doing that is by supplying participants with a “Blue Line Box” race day kit in advance of the race. It’s equipped with goodies to help you make it the distance. “Our concept is to send it to them in advance, loaded with a whole bunch of Akron marathon blue line swag. This isn’t something we typically offer in any other year,” says Anne Bitong, president and CEO of the Akron Marathon Charitable Corp. One of the notable items that marathon runners will get is a pair of sunglasses that sport the Akron marathon hashtag and theme, but there are other surprises in the box that runners will have to discover for themselves. There are three events: the full marathon, the half marathon, and the team relay. Runners will have from Sept. 26 to Oct. 31 to complete their event. But sign up fast, registration ends July 6. akronmarathon.org
Run for Recovery
The Run for Recovery serves as a fundraiser for Recovery Resources, which aims to provide resources for people struggling with addiction or mental health problems. “It shines a light on people coming together to celebrate recovery, to honor those lost and celebrate people who are on a journey,” says Pamela Gill, president and CEO. Participants can choose from three different runs: a virtual 5K for $30, a one-mile wellness walk and a kids’ fun run, both for $15. The race runs through Aug. 14 and participants will receive a T-shirt and a racing bib. Medal will be handed out to the top 3 finishers in each category. recres.org/runforrecovery