A virtual collective run and walk from Oldham to Berlin by Royton Road Runners has nearly gone around the world to reach every city hosting one of the marathon majors.
Lockdown precautions brought the cancellation of the club’s race calendar and suspension of Monday and Thursday training sessions as well as international marathons that some members had arranged to compete in.
So, it was a great idea for the membership to use technology to record and then submit their own runs to a collective total.
The club has its own Strava account (an online application that allows users to upload and share their running data) and members submitted their own runs to a ‘running’ total using the app or just sent proof of distance covered.
The challenge started on May 1 and in two weeks runners had reached New York. But there was no time for rest.
The challenge continued to Boston for the second of the six majors. The miles continued to accumulate taking the virtual athletes onto Chicago.
From the Windy City, the club daisy-chained each other’s runs over the Pacific Ocean for the longest stretch, which took a little longer.
But landfall was duly made, arriving in Tokyo on June 11. A total of 10,650 miles was now under everyone’s running shoes.
With a relaxation of the Covid-19 social distancing rules club captain Carl O’Callaghan organised a ‘dawn to dusk’ event when some 60 club runners ran the route of the club’s own annual race – the Royton Trail – in relays of four from 5am to 8pm.
Runners also donated to the club’s chosen charity, Kidneys for Life, as well as having all their miles taking them nearer to Berlin.
So, in just a few months, runners completed more than 13,700 miles with just another 2,400 to do before reaching its goal of the finish line in Berlin and then ‘cooling down’ with a last leg from Berlin to the sixth major, London.
Everybody is kept updated by club statistician, Jill Hickson, who has been charting the run from each city with an online animation and adding up the all-important miles as they are posted.