“Runners: on your mark, set, Go Virtual!”
The Race Director of the 8th Annual Rising Sun Run will be calling out these instructions to runners during the entire month of October. Because this year, as a result of the pandemic, the annual Sunrise Rotary Club half marathon, 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer race is going virtual.
Hosted by the Sierra Vista Sunrise Rotary Club, and supported by major sponsors Rutherford Diversified Industries and APEXNetwork Physical Therapy, this annual event has been gaining in popularity each year. Proceeds from this major club fundraiser help sponsor youth leadership activities, youth exchange programs and both local and global service projects.
So, what is a “virtual running event”? While the race is virtual you will actually the run a course (half marathon, 10K, or 5K) on your own, wherever you live. You choose an existing course or design your own. For those in the greater Sierra Vista area, the Rising Sun Run committee has designed special race courses for each length.
Participants who register by Sept. 7 will receive a runner swag bag, which includes a technical runner shirt, a participant ribbon (for 5K and 10K runners), a runner towel (while supplies last, given by registration date order), and a cool spinner medal, for half marathon finishers.
The suggested local courses and additional race details are available to download at: https://runsignup.com/Race/AZ/SierraVista/RisingSunRunSierraVista. Military ID card holders can register and run their entire 5K, 10K, or half marathon course on Fort Huachuca.
“I have really enjoyed participating in the Sierra Vista Rotary Rising Sun Run,” past local runner Mark Boggie says. “It is well organized and has several advantages for me as a participant. First, as a local run, it means I do not have to travel long distances with additional costs for meals and lodging. Second, the race size and cost mean huge savings as compared to the bigger races I sometimes participate in. The lower number of participants makes logistics so much easier and the price is half to one third of the cost of some of the bigger races. Third, there is an element of challenge in the course used for the half marathon the past several years. With the run winding into Ramsey Canyon in the middle of the race it places emphasis on running a smart race. The 1,000 foot elevation gain over the first seven miles can be daunting. October weather in Sierra Vista is usually perfect running weather!”
The Club has partnered with On Your Left Timing to handle timing tasks since 2017. Owner Julie Stark says, “It has been a wonderful experience watching the race grow and increase runner experience year-after-year. They truly go the extra mile to put on a quality event. With the Arizona running community looking for ways to stay engaged in running events and feel they are still part of something, transitioning to a virtual event that uses live tracking is paramount. People want to be outside and be fit during these trying times.
“When the Rising Sun Run transitioned to a virtual run, they will be using RunSignUp’s RaceJoy experience. By downloading the free RaceJoy App, runners can sign up to receive progress alerts every mile, and friends and family can track their runner and send cheers and encouragement in real time.”
Some participants aren’t really runners; they just want to train, be more healthy and fit, and be able to claim that they finished a course. Joe Farmer, former Buena High School Principal and current President of the Sunrise Rotary Club, says, “When the committee decided the Rising Sun Run would move to a virtual run, I started thinking that this might be the only time I would be able to do the 5 or 10K. Then I thought, ‘Why not do the half marathon?’ Another voice in my head said ‘Because you’re too old and out of shape!’ I figured three months would be enough time to help with that out-of-shape issue, and I would love to lose a few more pounds in the process. The weight loss would be easier on my body and help me control my diabetes better.”
We encourage people to find a running buddy, register for this event, and just do it. There’s no pressure when you finish; you have the entire month of October to pick a day and get your race done. “There will probably be more walking than jogging, but my goal is to finish,” says Joe. “I also hope to motivate and encourage some of our other fellow Rotarians and friends in our community to participate. There’s nothing better than to minimize your health issues by being fit, especially during this pandemic. And this is a great way to accomplish that.”
So, spread the word about Rising Sun Run 2020 Virtual because, remember, you can run local and friends and family across the country and the world can run too, wherever they are!
Submitted by Eva Dickerson, Sierra Vista Sunrise Rotary Club