Organizing a Virtual Race: Stronger Together Virtual 5K

Maya Mor on Virtual Race Day

Meet Maya Mor:

A Freshman student-athlete at Minnetonka High School, Maya drew on her passion for running and a desire to help out in this time of need to create the Stronger Together Virtual 5K with the goal of raising $5,000 for COVID-19 relief.

Boulder Bibs collaborated with Maya to design the race bibs and we had the opportunity to catch up with her after the event.

Here's what she had to say about putting on her very first virtual race including tips you can use to organize your own:


Q: What inspired you to organize the Stronger Together Virtual 5K?

A: I was actually out on a bike ride right after things had just gone downhill: schools had closed, cases were rising, stay at home orders were put in place, etc. Hearing about the sacrifices that the frontline workers were making to protect and help our community (along with other civilians who were doing the same while staying at home) made me want to do something to help as well.

Since running is my biggest passion in life, I thought that I would use it to bring positivity during trying times. I had heard of a virtual 5k once previously, Emma Coburn’s Elk Run, and that’s how I knew of the concept. With all the free time I had (school was canceled but e-learning hadn’t started) I was able to make a logo and website in the next few days and once I saw it start to come together, I knew that I wanted to follow through with the idea and got to work!

Q: How did your event turn out? Did you meet or exceed any goals you had for the event?

A: In the end, we raised $12,000 for the COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund at Greater Twin Cities United Way which most definitely surpassed our original goal of $5,000. We had almost 500 runners from around the state (and country!) and got support from professional runners including Reed Fischer, Emma Coburn, & Will Leer! We also gave away awesome prizes from local businesses so we could use the event as a way to support businesses in need during the pandemic. All in all the event was a huge success and definitely exceeded my expectations!

 

Q: What was the best part of the experience for you?

A: I think looking back on the event, the coolest part was definitely seeing everyone out running and posting photos on “race day.” It was so exciting (and also such a relief) to see the event finally come together. I was out driving and I saw multiple people wearing the incredible bibs you printed and it was so rewarding. It proved that we truly are stronger together and I loved that the event used running to raise money for a good cause, get people out of the house for some physical activity, and unite our community.

 

Q: What obstacles did you encounter during the organization/set-up of the event?

A: Things went pretty smoothly because I had a few weeks to organize it. The main issue was with result submission - the website went down right around the time everyone was wanting to submit their times which was a major inconvenience and pretty stressful. In the end, we figured it out though!

 

Q: Do you have any tips for others who may be organizing a similar event? What did you do well? Is there anything you would have done differently?

A: I think my biggest piece of advice is to put your all into the event. I spent so many hours reaching out to people and putting in the work to make sure the event went smoothly and the work was so worth it in the end. I personally spent so much time emailing coaches (over 150 of them…), media sources, teachers, students, and other community members, and sending emails over and over again seemed like a waste of time, especially if a majority of people wouldn’t participate. However, the little things build up and that’s how you spread the word about an event. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to certain people. I never thought professional runners I look up to would end up helping spread the word and participate in the run, but I decided to ask anyway and it paid off because they generously helped out! 

If I organize an event like this again, I will definitely get some help from other people. I pretty much organized everything on my own which was a bit stressful at times. Also if things start slowly returning back to normal and I have school, whether it be online or in person, I won’t have so much time in the day to put into the event so I will definitely need some assistance.

Q: Do you think you'll run this event or organize others like it in the future?

A: I definitely want to organize an event like this again! I’m hoping to make the 5k an annual run because uniting the community isn’t something we only have to do during a pandemic. I’m hoping there can be an in-person event in addition to the virtual option at some point.


Learn more about virtual races. Check out participant pictures and more about Maya's event on the Stronger Together Virtual 5K Website or follow the race Instagram Page.

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