Countless events have been cancelled around the world due to the coronavirus. However, the YMCA of East Surrey in Redhill, England, didn’t want that to be the case for their annual Fun Run.
“We have been holding the Fun Run for 20 years — this would have been our 21st run — and over this time have built up a loyal following of supporters,” said Gareth Luker, the challenge event coordinator for the East Surrey Y. “We wanted to be able to offer them a way in which they could complete the run and continue to support the YMCA, either individually or as family teams.”
Luker said staging inclusive — generally sports orientated — challenge events are an essential part of the Y’s makeup. They’re encouraging people in all situations to improve their wellbeing, fitness and general self-esteem by taking part in something that is both fun and challenging. For the same reasons, they want to continue the Fun Run as best they can during the current lockdown.
Participants have the entire month of May to complete a one-mile or five-mile run. Runners can choose to run the chosen route of the Fun Run or run any route. The race is free, but participants are encouraged to fundraise for the Y.
According to the Y’s website, 2020 marks the 150th year for the association in East Surrey. To celebrate this, every participant who fundraises will receive a Challenge 150 Commemorative medal, and the first 150 adults raising money will receive a free Challenge 150 technical T-shirt.
In order to keep track of who completes the race, the Y is asking participants to register for the run register online and to set up a “Just Giving” page to collect sponsorship. The Y has set up a Strava club so those using Strava can record their run. Lastly, they are promoting the use of social media for individuals and teams to post details, pictures, etc. of their run and use the hashtag #YMCAFunRun.
“YMCA East Surrey helps local people to belong, contribute and thrive, and despite the loss of income from events that have been cancelled,” explained Luker. “We are doing all we can during this crisis to support people impacted by the coronavirus. We are hoping the Virtual Fun Run, and other events, can help minimize the inevitable funding gap, caused by the closures.”