New Canada Day virtual run celebrates country while creating community
If you’re a runner in Southern Ontario and have a few races under your belt, chances are you’ve encountered Kelly Arnott of VR Pro Races. Her legendary Chilly Half Marathon and Frosty 5K in Burlington, ON along with a number of other runs have helped create an enthusiastic and supportive community in the area. Now, she’s hoping to bring a community of runners together from across the country to celebrate with her Canada Day 10K and 5K virtual races.
“We are hoping that everyone will come together and run or walk 5 or 10k with us where ever you are in Canada to celebrate this great county of ours,” she says.
The virtual race to celebrate Canada Day includes a beautiful commemorative race medal, along with a shirt and a bib, which will all be mailed out directly to participants.
"It’s a shirt you can wear so proudly, celebrating Canada,” Arnott says. “And of course the gift pack is very important as well. We offer a $12 Clif Bar gift pack to all our runners. We also are offering finishing certificates courtesy of Race Roster and posting and sharing on our VR Pro Race Facebook group and web site.”
Just as important, it’s an opportunity to connect with runners from coast to coast to coast in a celebration of our country in a time when we all need a little bit of hope.
It’s no surprise that virtual runs have become so popular, not just because events are being cancelled due to the pandemic, but also because of the sense of community they can create. At least, if they are fostered the right way. And that seems to be Arnott’s speciality. Community.
“I think all the years that I was in retail and developed personal relationships with so many customers that would just like to connect,” she explains. “Our VR Pro world is much the same but even stronger these days and our runners have been so happy to be able to share their workouts and feelings. This has been very therapeutic for all of us to be together on this journey.”
And, of course, goals. Virtual runs also give runners something to strive for whether it’s a first 5K or something longer. Whether you’re crossing the finish line with a herd, or crossing your own virtual finish line at the end of the driveway, the sense of accomplishment is real and profound.
“At this time when we have to social distance to avoid the spread and real races have been cancelled, we can still all go out and run or walk and train! Goals are so important and therefore having something substantial to work towards,” she says.
Lead photo by Emma Simpson