The 41st annual Borgess Run was to be held May 2 in Kalamazoo. But the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way. Now it's a two-week virtual event.
Borgess Run Race Director Blaine Lam says people will now run on their own, instead of in big groups. But Lam says it's still drawing attention.
"It's not just community people that will be running it. We've got entrants from 24 states in addition to a lot of local people. The local people can also go to Borgessrun.com and look at our 27 local courses."
People can run a marathon or half-marathon as well as five and ten-kilometer races. Lam says there are several suggested courses online.
"If they don't want to get in their car or they don't have a Garmin watch, or whatever, and they want to figure out where they're going to run, they can just go on our website and do it."
But Lam says running isn't required.
"Are people walking it? Yes, they are. Some people are walking. We're really doing this in the same spirit that we put on the now-canceled run. And that is, to get people to do more for their health. We know very well that running and walking and any form of exercize is a fantastic form of stress relief."
Lam admits that getting people psyched-up for a virtual race is challenging.
"A lot of times, people say they're starting. But, what's more important, most of us have done it many times, is starting over. So, we've also heard people say, 'You know what, I'm going to put my running shoes back on. I'm going to go out and do this.' They might have been training for the half (marathon) and now they're training for a 5K or 10K."
Registration for the virtual Borgess Run costs $25 and is open until May 10. Some employers, including Western Michigan University, cover the fee for their workers. Participants can post their results on the Borgess Run website through the 17th.