Virtual running challenge launched to cover the length of New York State

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Athletes have run 5Ks, half-marathons, marathons and now a challenge has been launched to cover the distance of New York State from Niagara Falls to Montauk.

The running and walking challenge is called One NY VIrtual Challenge, and runners can sign up to try and complete either 1,000 or 500 kilometers over a three-and-a-half-month span.

“I think runners and walkers who are used to participating in groups are really missing that aspect right now of being able to connect with other people,” Matt Werder, One NY Virtual Challenge organizer, said. “We want to come up with a way to connect people virtually and provide this challenge. The One NY Challenge is something we came up with that will get everybody active and running from now through the end of summer. The challenge ends on the last day of August.”

The challenge was also created to support the healthcare workers on the front lines, working to keep us safe from COVID-19.

“We’re stuck at home for a reason obviously, and so we wanted to do something to link this to a good cause as well,” Werder said. “So, at this point we have over 8,000 people who have signed up to participate in this challenge, and they’ve raised over $50,000 so far for Direct Relief, which is an organization that has, in the State of New York alone, already contributed $12.5 million in supplies to healthcare workers.”

To accomplish the 1,000-kilometer goal in three and a half months, you have to run or walk about six miles a day. You can also sign up with a team to accomplish the 1,000-kilometer goal, and participants track their progress online. 

Werder said, “Walking counts too. So, for those who are adding in a family hike every weekend or walking their dog, all of that mileage can count as well. So, there are a lot of different ways you can approach it, and the combination of running and walking is what you need, it’s just going out with the intent to exercise is what makes it count.”

Hopefully, concerns surrounding COVID-19 will be evaporated by the fall, and this challenge can be great practice towards the Syracuse Half Marathon and other long-distance events.

“If you’re planning to do any long-distance fall event, any marathon, half marathon, you need to get those summer miles. That base mileage is a really important part of the training,” Werder said. “So, this challenge should really help people to have something to work towards while getting that summer mileage in, and create that foundation for them to be able to go and do longer fall events.”

The challenge is open to anyone, even if you are not from New York, and you have until about June to register. 

To sign up for the challenge or to make a donation, visit Onenychallenge.com. It costs $60 to register, but the cost includes a hoodie, finisher medal, and a neck gaiter that can be used as a face covering while running.


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