With over 461 finishers in our virtual race series and another 106 runners signing up for the “Stuck With You 2 x 5k Relay,” the Charlotte Running Club Virtual Race Series was a huge success.
The idea for the series started in mid-March. Races continued being cancelled, we were told to stay home and avoid groups, and the prospect of competitive running looked bleak in the Queen City. As board member Franklin Keathley ran down East Blvd, thinking of how he’d always wanted to close down some of Charlotte’s most iconic streets, he thought, if not now… when?
With few automobiles on the road, we set up a one mile Strava segments down some of the City’s premier streets and challenged people to go out and give it their all! The challenge was a hit and the feedback was positive. We saw a father lead his son to break an 8:00 min/mile, a new member break 9:00 minutes for her very first time, and some blazing fast road PRs for our top two finishers: Dylan Lowry (4:15) and Paula Prigdon (5:01).
The combination of the Stay at Home Order, low traffic volume and the best spring weather Charlotte has seen in years led us to continue the series for another five weeks. Some people used it to set new PRs or compete with one another, while others ran the challenges to remain accountable and have a goal mileage to finish each week.
After the last virtual challenge, as the governor began reopening the economy, we set up one last race to celebrate those of us who have spent (for better or for worse) a LOT of time together this spring: the Stuck With You 5k Relay. We saw parents and children, siblings and friends run the combined 10k together or in a relay format, but the most competitive division was the co-ed race!
The Quarantine Quickies, Stuart Hildebrandt and Casey Cline, started off the competition with a 43:01 combined 10k. The Quickies’ mark lasted until Saturday morning when Joey Woltjer and Cara Cremeans threw down a 36:18 on the Freedom Park Lake loop. However only minutes later, Woltjer spotted Ethan and Nikki Cohen flying down East Blvd and into the park to take the lead by two seconds!
Hours later, as the day progressed and temperatures approached 90 degrees, Paula Pridgen and Franklin Keathley blazed along the Dilworth Speed loop to the tune of 35:58. That time would only be safe until morning, when Lauren and Eric Westog (two former UGA track standouts) ran a 35:28 in Davidson! As the deadline approached, however, the Late Adds of Ryan Jank and Lucy Rogers took the win with a combined 10k time of 32:51!
In the end, whether it was competition, accountability, or trying to start running for the first time, we all ran these races to just feel a little more connected with one another. Thank you to everyone who participated!