A Virtual Marathon, Not a Sprint

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Provided by Novant Health UVA Health System

COVID-19 brought multiple events and activities to a halt this year. Over time, though, people have found creative ways to engage with their favorite hobbies. One nurse at Novant Health UVA Health System figured out a way to participate in marathons for which she’d been training. All training is done from the comfort of her neighborhood.

Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards is a perioperative nurse in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) at Haymarket Medical Center. She’s been participating in virtual runs the past few months. With a virtual event, participants register online. They complete the run anytime during the allotted race period, either in their neighborhood, on a treadmill or at a local track. Many virtual runs also provide a training plan specific to that race. So far, Edwards has run in the Semper 5ive Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), Belleau Woods 8K MCM, MCM10K, Novant Health Virtual 5K for Healthcare Heroes and a run in memory of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed during a run on Feb. 23.

The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run is her favorite annual event. This year was no different.

“I have run that event for over a decade as a medical volunteer,” said Edwards. “This year, I was honored to run it virtually decked in Novant Health UVA Health System gear!”

Participating Virtually

The past few months have been difficult for many as communities navigated their response to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements. Once Edwards realized many of the races she was looking forward to were hosted virtually, she felt it important to share.

“I want to encourage others that may not know these virtual events are available that their participation in them is just as impactful,” she said.

Edwards continues to run because the physical activity allows her to recalibrate herself and has been an incredible form of self-care. “This certainly was not the running season that I had envisioned, but it is important for me to stay active,” Edwards said. “Running virtually is definitely not the same. I run at a slower pace and don’t get the same social aspect I’ve come to look forward to during in-person races.

“It’s always incredible seeing crowds of people gather together for a cause, but the swell of online support has been nice as well,” she added.

A New Way to Participate

As many areas continue to enforce COVID-19 restrictions, Edwards encourages others to find unconventional ways to participate in their favorite hobbies or find new ones to explore. It’s helpful to have an engaging activity apart from work or other responsibilities to decompress after a tough week.

The running community continues to be active with new virtual events announced weekly. Edwards finds many races either advertised on social media or through word of mouth. She signs up for those that have a cause close to her heart.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for many of us, especially for those working on the front line,” Edwards said. “My running schedule has helped me feel somewhat balanced through everything.”

Edwards’s next virtual run is the Race for Ryland 5K. This is a virtual fun run to support a local teen recently diagnosed with brain cancer. Participating in the Boston Marathon remains on her bucket list. She’s confident she’ll achieve that goal in the next few years.

For additional wellness tips from Novant Health UVA Health System, please visit NovantHealthUVA.org.




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