Why a Virtual Marathon?
Our current situation around the world is unprecedented. The COVID-19 crisis has shut down travel, businesses, education, and interaction just about everywhere on Earth, including the final 2 marathons I had planned for this project. While this is no surprise (and certainly for the best!), it poses a new challenge for Run to Reach: how can I finish my goal of running 30 marathons in 30 countries before my 30th birthday this June? After much consideration, I’ve replaced my 29th marathon in Greece with a virtual marathon, and I welcome you to run with me!
What is a “Virtual Marathon”?
For this virtual marathon, I’m asking runners across the globe to join me on May 24th and run a distance of their choice. I know there are lots of limitations on where we can run now—closed parks, limited time allowed outside, or no access to gyms or treadmills—but that’s why this race can be completed however you see it. Any time on May 24th, 2020, run however far is comfortable for you, wherever you can! My goal is to have 100 countries represented in this race, so I would be honored for you to share with your runner friends worldwide!
Why the World Health Organization?
Choosing an organization for this race was a challenge. At first, I had settled on two different organizations working to economically support women in the US and the UK in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as this race and my ambitions for it grew, I had the idea to set course for a total of at least 500 runners from at least 100 countries. With such a large part of the world represented, I wanted to support an organization whose work knows no boundaries—we should be coming together, not drifting apart, in a moment as crucial as this. This is why I’ve opted to include the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund among the 20 organizations supported by Run to Reach. This fund helps the WHO to reach its $675 million goal to accelerate research and development of treatments to the virus, improve the preparedness and response of countries around the world, and to coordinate across regions and boundaries to assess and respond tot he virus. So far, the WHO has purchased and delivered over 1 million masks, 1 million boxes of gloves, and over 40,000 face shields to 133 countries, as well as providing over 1.5 million additional testing kits to 126 countries. It is this global, coordinated, and nonpolitical response to the pandemic that we need to recognize and support today.