Of all the plans I’ve canceled due to the pandemic, one of the things I was most upset to miss was the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon. I’d been training for it, and I was psyched to run to Coney Island and jump in the ocean after I crossed the finish line. It was supposed to happen last weekend — but of course, it was canceled.
Running a big race surrounded by hundreds of heavy-breathing athletes is downright dangerous right now. All that huffing and puffing probably means respiratory droplets are flying all over the place, and the last thing anyone wants is to catch coronavirus because of a recreational activity. As such, it wasn’t just my race that was canceled. Memorial Day is a popular weekend for road races, and many of them have been sidelined.
But at least some race organizers are offering up a consolation prize: virtual races. No, that doesn't mean you're running over Zoom (thank goodness). In a virtual race, you sign up and pay an entry fee, then run the distance within a specific time frame. Some events let you upload your tracking data to prove you finished, others operate on the honor system. And there are usually no free bagels at the end, but you may still be mailed a goodie bag or medal if you finish.
Here are a few virtual races that are still accepting sign-ups.
Boys Town Memorial Day Run
The details: Walk or run one to five miles from the May 23 to 25. Proceeds will help Boys Town continue to provide resources to children and families who need help.
Remember The Fallen Virtual Run
The details: This 21K run was created in remembrance for those who’ve died serving the country.
Race Roster National Veterans Memorial and Museum Virtual Run & Walk
The details: A virtual one mile, 5K, or 10K run honoring service people who died defending our country. Finish your distance anytime between May 22 to 25. A portion of entry fees goes to the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.
Memorial Day Virtual Flag 5K Run/Walk for our Heroes
The details: You can participate in this race between May 23 and 25. Net proceeds will support hospitals, health care workers, and food distribution organizations. Some donations will go to the Staten Island University Hospital, Richmond University Medical Center, and Meals on Wheels, for example.
Waynesboro Y Masked Memorial Day Virtual Race & Ride
The details: Run a 5K or 10K, or bike 15 or 30 miles at some point during Memorial Day weekend, and submit your time on Monday. The registration fee goes to the YMCA’s programs that help seniors and provide food to those who need it.
NYRR Virtual Global Running Day 1M
The details: This virtual one-miler can be run anytime from May 28 to June 7. One milers are super fun — you can test your speed or, if you're a beginner runner, your endurance. This race is part of NYRR's Virtual 6 program, which guarantees entry into 2021's Popular Brooklyn Half when you complete six qualifying virtual races in 2020.