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Racing virtually with The Marathon Project

You might not be able to race in Arizona at the in-person Marathon Project, but you can still participate in the virtual version of the event

Photo by: Maxine Gravina

In a little over a month, more than 100 of North America’s top road runners (including eight Canadians) will head to Chandler, Ariz., where they’ll race in The Marathon Project, an elite-only event set for December 20. With such stacked fields, this event could be the race of the year, and while you won’t be toeing the line in Arizona, you can still participate in the run with The Marathon Project Virtual Challenge. Unlike the in-person event, this virtual race is open to anyone worldwide, and participants can choose from 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon race options, as well as a “Mileage Madness Challenge.” The virtual challenge starts on November 25 and runs for 26 days until the in-person race day in December. 

The virtual race 

Like most virtual races, participants in the Marathon Project Virtual Challenge must submit GPS links to their mileage in order to be in contention for top positions. If you sign up and don’t link to your mileage, you’ll still be able to compete, but you won’t be eligible to win the races. The virtual races from 5K to the marathon are pretty self-explanatory (simply run the correct distance and post your time), but the Mileage Madness Challenge is a bit different. Instead of running a set distance for this challenge, you run as far as you can in the 26 days between the start and finish of the event. As you update your progress online, you’ll be able to see where you rank among the other runners around the world. At the end of the event, the runners with the top times in each category (and most miles in the Mileage Madness Challenge) will be declared the official winners of the virtual challenge. 

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Race kit 

The registration fee is C$65, and while you might think this is a bit hefty for a virtual event, you get much more than the chance to race. All participants will receive a quarter-zip sweater with “The Marathon Project 2020” on the chest, the same medal the elites will receive on December 20 and entry into draws for raffle prizes (which will be provided by the various sponsors of the event). Plus, $5 of every entry will be donated to the USATF Foundation, which helps fund track and field programs across the U.S. 

The Marathon Project 

The Marathon Project will likely feature some of the most exciting racing of the year, and a strong contingent of Canadians will be in Arizona, including Rachel CliffNatasha Wodak and Cam Levins. For a full list of the Canadian squad headed to the race, click here, and to register for The Marathon Project Virtual Challenge, visit the event website

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