Marathons go virtual allowing runners to stay active while raising money

Regional News

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 18: Runners near the finish line on Boylston Street during the 120th Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC)–  Two popular summer marathons in Rochester have been canceled due to COVID restrictions-but organizers are adapting and offering runners a virtual way to get involved.

Leaders with Yellow Jacket Racing and Fleet Feet are moving the Rochester Marathon and Rochester Regional Health Flower City Challenge online, offering runners a creative way to stay healthy while giving back. 

Alex Cerra and George Goga are happy there is still a way to participate in some of the most popular marathons in Rochester.  

“I think it is a tragedy that an event like this has to be canceled because of this ongoing situation, but with the way the country is right now, I think it is smart of them to try and do it a different way,” Alex Cerra said.

“Regardless of whether using virtual or in person, you got to make sure people are happy and paying attention to their personal health. So I think it’s a great intuitive,” George Goga said.

Over 3,000 runners signed up for the Rochester Marathon last year, but due to capacity limitations, permit restrictions, and safety regulations, both the Rochester Marathon and Rochester Regional Health Flower City Challenge have been moved online.

This year runners will have a whole week to complete the event virtually.

“You can run it from anywhere. So, if you live in Florida currently, you can run your event in Florida. Submit your time and your good to go. We also have a new technology where we’re going to create the actual course and it will provide you cues and feedback about the course,” Ellen Brenner-Boutillier, owner Yellow Jacket Racing and Fleet Feet, said.

“It is still our responsibility and our desire to make sure people still want to remain healthy. Right now, being active is one of the best things we can do through this entire thing of COVID,” Brenner-Boutillier said.

The event going virtual is not changing the fundraising part and the organizations is still gathering donations for the American Diabetes Association.

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