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Virtual races between Jared Ward, Jake Riley and more

Some elite virtual race matchups are on the schedule this week and next

Photo by: Instagram/jwardy21

On June 26, there will be a two-mile relay virtual matchup between runners from NAZ Elite and T.E.A.M. Boulder, including Stephanie Bruce, Scott Fauble and Canadian Rory Linkletter. A week later, on July 4, T.E.A.M. Boulder will participate in another virtual race, with U.S. Olympic marathon qualifier Jake Riley racing a 5K against 2016 Olympic marathoner Jared Ward. These might not be the types of races running fans were expecting to watch this summer, but they’re much better than no races at all, and they can all be streamed live on Instagram. 

NAZ Elite vs. T.E.A.M. 

T.E.A.M. (Troop Events Athlete Management) Boulder and the Hoka One One NAZ Elite will square off starting at 7:30 MDT on Friday night. The runs will be streamed on the both the NAZ Elite and T.E.A.M. Boulder Instagram pages. The men’s race will start first, and it will feature Linkletter, Fauble (12th place at the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials) and Nick Hauger for the NAZ Elite. Representing T.E.A.M. will be Riley (second place at U.S. Trials), David Goodman and Tim Rackers

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For the women, who start 15 minutes after the men, the NAZ Elite team will include sixth- and eighth-place U.S. Marathon Trials finishers Bruce and Kellyn Taylor and  Pan Am Games 5,000m runner Lauren Paquette. Each athlete will run two miles, and the team with the fastest cumulative time wins. T.E.A.M. Boulder will be made up by Carrie Verdon, Melissa Dock and Ericka Hibser

“It’s got [the athletes] all excited,” Lee Troop, coach of T.E.A.M., said in an Instagram Live video on Wednesday. “It’s given them a chance to not get too caught up in what’s happening every day, but looking forward to something positive and having some fun.” Troop went on to say this is not only good for the athletes, but it’s good for fans of running, who finally get the chance to watch some racing. 

RELATED: Virtual relays keep Halifax Road Hammers engaged

Ward vs. Riley 

Just over a week after racing the two-mile relay, Riley will line up against Ward in their one-on-one virtual 5K. Ward came in sixth in the marathon at the Rio Olympics, but at this year’s U.S. Trials, he finished well back of a qualifying spot in 27th place. He has a 5,000m PB of 13:34.74 compared to Riley’s 13:32.82, although both men ran those years ago in the early to mid-2010s. Riley beat Ward by almost six full minutes at the marathon trials in Atlanta in February. Their race will be live on Instagram on July 4 at 8 a.m. MDT. 

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