January 18, 2022

Stay active, take part in YMCA’s virtual 5K

The COVID-19 quarantine handcuffs most sports, most outdoor competitions and most public social interactions.

But nobody has said you can’t go out for a walk or run to escape a case of cabin fever.

And the Cortland County YMCA wants residents to take full advantage of that by organizing a virtual 5K known as the Easter Egg Dash. Sunday is the final day of the Easter Egg Dash.

“The Easter Egg Dash is a very informal virtual 5K,” Cortland County YMCA membership and marketing director Margo Upson said. “Community members are welcome to complete a 5K along any route of their choice, but we do still have the maps for most of our 2019 races up on our website.”

There is no formal sign-up or registration process. Participants can run or walk YMCA-suggested routes, their own route or even on a treadmill at home. Once their run or walk is completed, Upson says participants “just need to post a post-race selfie and their time on Instagram and tag us (@YMCACortland), or send their time and image to us on Facebook.”

“We have gotten a lot of interest, and participants are starting to post their post-race selfies. I think we’re going to see more finishers as the week goes on.”

Top finishers will be rewarded with their choice from an assortment of small prizes.

“We have a collection of coffee cups from the Chiro 5K, record album cup coasters and guitar spoons from the Rock Around the Block 5K, and a variety of race shirts,” Upson said.

The epidemic may force the cancellation of future races the Y hopes to organize, which is why they are testing this format, according to Upson.

“If this works the way we’re hoping it will, and if we have to cancel more races (looking likely, unfortunately), we’d like to host more,” she said.

The virtual 5K format is not a new concept, and not one exclusive to global pandemic environments. Larger organizations are following the same format that the Y is using.

“[Virtual 5Ks are] great for new runners, and more experienced racers enjoy the creative medals that usually come with them,” Upson said.

“We’re hoping to resume our regular race series as soon as it is safe, but while we’re all waiting for the all-clear, hosting a virtual race is a fun way for us to stay connected with our runners and still have fun. Even if we are doing it from a distance.”