Whitehorse Daily Star

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GOING VIRTUAL – The registration for the 2020 virtual Klondike Road Relay opened on July 3. Above, Les Grizzlis leg 10 runner Jennifer England gets a high-five from emcee Kate White during the 2019 race in September.

Klondike Road Relay goes virtual

On April 30, it was announced the Klondike Road Relay would be cancelled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

By John Tonin on July 17, 2020

On April 30, it was announced the Klondike Road Relay would be cancelled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be the first time since its inauguration in 1983 that the race has not been run.

After the cancellation, race coordinator Sandra Soares told the Star that the organizing team would work toward creating a virtual race. The wait is over as registration for the virtual Klondike Road Relay opened on July 3.

Entrants will have a month to complete their chosen distance, Aug. 15 - Sept. 12. Registration for the virtual event is $30.

Soares said the Road Relay is using Race Roster as there platform for hosting the virtual event as they are involved in many capacities in the racing world with virtual events becoming their new area of expertise.

When registering, Soares said runners have two options.

“You can register one of two ways,” said Soares. “One is as an individual, you pick a distance you want to run or achieve during the month-long event, you run that distance, post your results and you get a certificate and a t-shirt for completing it.

“Or you can create a team, a virtual team of course, they could use their official Road Relay team name and then each individual will register using that team name up to 10 people.

“Then they can kind of decide how they want to do it on their own. We’ve heard some people are going to get together and do their own relay wherever they are.”

The emphasis on this year’s race is fun, said Soares. There will be no prizes for the fastest times, as everyone will be running different routes.

“You can’t compare someone’s 10 kilometres up a hill to someone’s 10 k on a trail,” said Soares.

Since registration opened, Soares said the virtual Klondike Road Relay has been well received.

“We’ve gotten a good response,” said Soares. “We already have 120 people registered and it’s kind of surpassed my expectations. We are just going to keep pumping it out, getting the word out there that it’s an option for people to do.”

Because of COVID, many organizations have turned their events virtual. Soares said this has forced her to be creative so they stand out.

“You kind of get stuck in your ways,” said Soares. “This would have been my sixth race as race coordinator. You kind of have your routines and this made me think outside the box on how to make it fun and engaging and not just another virtual event.

“There are so many virtual events it’s hard to stand out, but our race community is so wonderful and just excited that anything is happening and I think it’s been well received so far.

“I was trying to think of ways to stand out a little bit but I wanted to include as much as we could.”

One new wrinkle added to the Klondike Road Relay is the six-week training plan all registrants receive.

“We are working with the Northern Strength Academy here in Whitehorse,” said Soares. “Ian Weir is their running coach and he created a six-week training plan.

So when you register, you get the plan you can use for this event or another, it’s a useful tool.

“I think that maybe it’s a tool that we can use moving forward. We have this plan that’s been created for us so we can use it moving forward.”

Soares also created a hashtag, #virtualkrr2020, so entrants can post about their results or share stories.

“I’m going to following that hashtag throughout and choosing people’s photos and videos, or if they want to submit stories even to us they can, I want to have some sort of prizes and swag to give out at the end.”

The Klondike Road Relay is Sport Yukon’s largest fundraiser, generating around $60,000 for the organization.

Soares said they will take a hit but they will be alright.

“We are doing the best we can given the circumstances. Obviously, it’s going to be a hit on the fundraising side of things, we won’t raise enough doing the virtual event.

But, we will be OK.

“There also is the option outside of the registration fee to donate to sport Yukon. We have already raised $300 that way.”

Comments (1)

Up 4 Down 1

Carol on Jul 18, 2020 at 9:18 am

You say "run"....but would walking the distance be just as acceptable?...I'm a senior and running is off my agenda..but I can walk..

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