This weekend, the Halifax Road Hammers running club will run a new event created to combat the boredom of quarantine life. The race is called the Road Hammer Virtual Half Marathon Team Relay Challenge, and the club has 30 teams registered to run. The teams are made up of four members, each of whom will run the challenge alone. Then, each team adds all four times together to determine which team wins the race.
— Halifax Road Hammers (@hfxroadhammers) April 30, 2020
This virtual race is a bit different than many of the others that have been popping up ever since the start of quarantine. Instead of individual races (which are still great virtual events to enter and run to fuel your competitive fire during COVID-19), this is a relay event with three 5K legs and one 6.1K leg, which adds up to a half-marathon.
The runners have from Friday, May 1 until Sunday, May 3 to complete their leg, and they must upload their runs to Strava or Garmin Connect. The rules also stipulate that all runners must adhere to the provincial social distancing regulations and guidelines (meaning that if they have to stop or veer off-course to make room for oncoming pedestrian traffic, they’ll just have to take the hit in their overall time).
No races mean testing out fitness through solo Time Trials! pic.twitter.com/K2tql8Dnbg
— Halifax Road Hammers (@hfxroadhammers) March 29, 2020
Adding some fun to training
Lee McCarron, the Road Hammers head coach, says he has encouraged his runners to participate in virtual time trials and races, or to run for Strava segments and course records. He wanted to switch things up, though, and so he created the half-marathon virtual relay.
“One of our biggest sayings as a club is we are ‘better together,’ so I wanted a way to connect people as a team and encourage and cheer others on virtually,” McCarron says. “I came across a team 4x5K relay in Scotland and thought we could do something similar.” McCarron decided to add an extra 1.1K to a leg to turn the race into a half-marathon.
“The goal is to encourage teamwork, sportsmanship and virtual high fives, and to bring some positive excitement for individuals,” he says. “We are one big team, and we are all in this together.”
McCarron says the club has dialled their training back and the members are in “a maintenance phase,” but having an event to look forward to keeps runners excited and engaged.
“It gives a purpose to the workouts and mileage,” he says. Races may be on hold for now, but eventually, in-person events will slowly start to run again, and McCarron wants his athletes to be ready when that day comes.
“We know we will get through this, and when we do we will be able to have a great foundation to build off of as we go after goals.”