The Halifax Road Hammers have done a good job at keeping busy during the pandemic, and although the club hasn’t trained as a group since March, they’ve still managed to compete together virtually. In May, the Road Hammers held two team relays over half and full marathon distances, and they’re set to run their third, this time much shorter than the previous two, with teams of three people running one mile each. The run lines up perfectly with Canadian Running‘s Saucony Endorphin Mile contest, and it’s a great example of the club’s continued effort to keep fit and engaged during these strange times of COVID-19 and social distancing.
Virtual team relay
Each team will be made up of three runners for the Road Hammers’ mile relay. Lee McCarron, the Road Hammers’ head coach and founder, says there will be 33 teams in total, and participants can go for their runs at any point between June 12 and 14.
Once everyone has finished and submitted their runs, McCarron will add each team’s times together and rank them accordingly. With 4:24 as the fastest seed time and “a bunch of people sub-five minutes,” there will be plenty of good performances, both from individuals and teams.
“The team times will range from 20 minutes down to 16.” McCarron says. He says this is a fun way to keep engagement high, to get some hard efforts in and for club members to run “together,” even though, for the time being, they’re still training separately.
A slow path back to normal
McCarron has asked all relay runners to continue to observe the provincial social distancing guidelines, and although the club hasn’t been able to train as a group for some time, that is about to change.
“Nova Scotia is a little bit better than Ontario and other provinces in terms of how things are opening,” he says. “Athletics Nova Scotia has released guidelines for formal group training in groups of 10, although still socially distanced.” He says next week the club will slowly begin “some formal sense of getting back” to group workouts (albeit in smaller groups than usual), with runners keeping their distance and dishing out “virtual high fives from six feet apart.”
McCarron says most of his athletes are used to running longer distances, like 10K up to the marathon. Even though a mile is 26 times shorter than a marathon, he says this distance can be quite daunting for even the most seasoned of runners. “The mile is a bit trickier, because unless you ran in high school or college, people don’t like dropping down to 1,600m.” The most important thing, McCarron says, is for the runners to have fun with the relay.
As an added bonus to running this mile time trial, the Road Hammers have the chance to win a number of prizes from the Endorphin Mile contest. McCarron says a lot of his runners are Saucony lovers (“certainly in-tune with Saucony,”) so many of the relay runners are eager to see if they can win a new pair of the new Saucony Endorphin Pro. To learn more about this contest, which is open to anyone who runs a mile and posts a picture using the hashtag #endorphinmile and tagging @canadianrunning and @sauconycanada, click here.