Crossing the Finish Line: Fun Walking Not Running in the Time of Corona

I’ve previously published Crossing the Finish Line blog posts to reflect on the fun running challenges I’ve completed, such as my Fun Walking Not Running Tour around Australia, and my Four Seasons: Four Miles challenge. I felt I couldn’t let the opportunity to do a reflective post on my fun walking not running efforts in 2020 pass me by, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting not only my own fun walking not running, but fun running all over the world.

Pi Day virtual run medal and bib

I kicked off 2020 dreaming of starting my Fun Walking Not Running International Tour by going to Queenstown, New Zealand, to do a 10km walk in the Queenstown Marathon in November, and considering the possibility of participating in the Alice Springs Masters Games in August. I didn’t sign up to any fun runs (virtual or real world) in January or February, but I did sign up to a Pi Day virtual run, which I was supposed to complete on Pi Day on March 14.

By March 14, COVID-19 cases and the subsequent consequences were escalating in Australia and around the world. Australia would close its borders and officially enforce social distancing a week later. Gyms would shut down in NSW nine days later. Due to the increasing restrictions and gym shut downs, as well as being busy with study and work at the time, I didn’t complete the Pi Day virtual run – my first run of the year – until May 3.

World Chocolate Day Run 2020 medal and bib

The next virtual run I completed was the World Chocolate Day run on July 7 (the day after my 30th birthday). I was actually proud of myself for completing this run on the day I was supposed to complete it. I was actually able to complete it at my local gym, as gyms in NSW reopened on June 13.

In August, I completed the Angel Kisses virtual run, specifically a virtual marathon. This was a run I completed over the entire month, mostly on treadmills at my gym, but also on a local walking track. I also received an email in August from the Queenstown Marathon organisers providing me with the option to defer my registration to the 2021 Queenstown Marathon or be provided a credit for any IRONMAN event in Australia. I chose the former as I’d still like to participate in the Queenstown Marathon.

Fun Walking Not Running Around the World (Virtual Tour) map. (Map image via Google Images)

In October, I decided to start a Fun Walking Not Running Around the World (Virtual Tour). This Tour was a virtual version of my planned International Tour to compensate for not being able to do any fun runs overseas. I was able to come up with and complete this Tour as Virtual Run Events offer country races for runners to participate in. I registered for as many as possible and ended up completing 21 runs from October 11 to December 24.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement and/or cancellation of several fun running events around Australia and around the world. In Australia, this included major running events such as City2Surf, the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, the City-Bay Fun Run in Adelaide, and the Melbourne Marathon Festival. However even though these events were cancelled in the “real world” sense in that they couldn’t go ahead as normal, the organisers of the runs listed above (as well as many others) took the opportunity to make their events virtual, so they could still go ahead, but go ahead safely. I participated in the virtual Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and virtual Melbourne Marathon Festival in November and December respectively. My participation in the virtual Melbourne Marathon Festival marks the first time I have participated in a fun running event twice, and in both “real world” and virtual form.

Conqueror Virtual Challenges (Image via Conqueror Events)

In addition to these runs, I started participating in the Conqueror Virtual Challenges. The Conqueror Virtual Challenges provide participants a variety of challenges/virtual missions with various distances that are the equivalent of travelling to, from, through or around various global landmarks. These Challenges also allow participants to count over 80 different forms of exercise as completing the distance. I completed two of the Challenges in 2020 – the English Channel and the Inca Trail – in the form of stationary bike rides. I chose to complete them via bike rides as I was dealing with foot and tibia issues (not injuries, long-term issues due to having archless feet) and they provided the opportunity for cross training. I completed the English Channel Challenge from mid-September to early-October, and the Inca Trail Challenge from mid-October to late-December.

Overall 2020 was a decent fun walking not running year/season for me, despite not being able to participate in any “real world” runs, and having to go completely virtual. I clocked a total of 99.3km of fun walking not running and a total of 76km of cycling. I also had to deal with long-term foot and tibia issues due to my archless feet, but this didn’t stop me from being able to complete the runs I signed up for. I’m also thankful for my fun walking not running as it kept me sane during the rapidly escalating COVID-19 pandemic, which for me personally, resulted in six months of unemployment.

Hopefully my 2021 fun walking not running year/season will be bigger and better.


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