New York Metropolis Marathon goes digital throughout coronavirus pandemic

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The virtual race can include augmented reality and the sound of crowds.

October 31, 2020, 3:09 pm

4 min read

NEW YORK – The New York City Marathon is one of the city’s biggest events of the year, drawing tens of thousands of runners from more than 100 countries around the world to the Big Apple to try and complete a mighty 26 miles (42 km) run.

Typically, the New York Road Runners flagship crosses five bridges and takes participants through all five boroughs. But this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic prevents large gatherings, everything will be just a little different.

Christine Burke, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and runner products at NYRR, said the decision was made in June to cancel the personal run.

“Fortunately, we already had plans for a virtual marathon,” she said. “This is our third year of running a virtual version of the marathon. We are fortunate to have experience with it now. So we already had plans to do a virtual marathon, but ended with the cancellation of the in-marathon June we knew we had to make the virtual version bigger and better than ever before. “

Chris Baker has run the New York City Marathon several times and was initially unsure whether he would take part in the virtual celebrations.

“I was very skeptical because what is attractive to me is the actual competitive nature of seeing my friends in the Corrals … and actually competing with them. And a virtual race is like the opposite of that, you kind of are Just run by yourself, record your time and submit, “he said.

But Baker says he decided to run not for himself but for town this year.

“Running the virtual marathon for me is a way of showing people, see what’s going on in New York, things are good, we’re trying to get back to normal, and this is one way we can do it can. “”

Listen to the full interview and the rest of the highlights from the past week here.

NYRR has continued its efforts to make the virtual race special with the help of the ongoing Strava app.

“There is technology that we are using this year,” Burke told ABC News, “including augmented reality, where runners at the finish can place a medal on a photo over their heads.”

With other tools, Burke said, runners can hear the sounds of the marathon route on race day, including the sound of the cannon starting in Staten Island on the Verrazanno Bridge and sounds similar to a normal race.

The marathon can also attract over 2 million spectators and line the streets for the entire length of the route. ABC’s Brad Mielke, host of the Start Here podcast, usually spends Sunday marathon outsmarting anyone who runs past.

“In the city where you think everyone is isolated and mean, angry and lonely, there are people who are strangers for three hours,” he says. “It’s like the magic of everything.”

NYRR allowed entrants to submit their run time at any time within two weeks, beginning October 17th and ending on the normal race day, November 1st.

And while the milestone anniversary celebration has to wait, according to Burke, organizers are hoping to recognize the 50th round of the race next year at the same time as always, the first Sunday in November.

Hear the rest of last week’s highlights from perspective.

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