The virtual Race Across Maryland kept me running through the hot summer

Selfie of Vanessa Junkin wearing mask and holding Race Across Maryland medal, wearing Race Across Maryland tank top.
Here I am with my Race Across Maryland tank top and medal after completing the 250 miles in 60 days.

I had 60 days to run 250 miles in the virtual Race Across Maryland. This was about 30 miles a week, and I figured it would pose a good challenge, as it’s a little more than my usual mileage. So, it would be a stretch, but doable.

But I got behind, and did something I’m sure no coach would recommend — I ran 81.69 miles in the last two weeks after lower-mileage weeks for the past few months. However, I did plenty of run-walk intervals during my runs, and I was able to finish the Race Across Maryland on my 60th day, Aug. 13.

Back before the event started, I got an email from a Corrigan Sports employee who has reached out about Eastern Shore Running Club discounts, letting me know that if we got together a team of at least 10 people, we’d get $10 off each entry. This went for any social team, not just ESRC.

I decided to ask the Eastern Shore Running Club via our Facebook group, and we were pretty quickly able to grow a social team of more than 10 people. I created a Facebook group so we could chat and encourage each other as we worked on our Race Across Maryland.

Race bib for Race Across Maryland, showing race logo, '20, bib number 1900 and name, Vanessa Junkin.
Here’s my race bib for the Race Across Maryland.

Most of my running for the challenge was done in Salisbury, but I was simultaneously completing the Tour de Salisbury, so I ran in other locations, too. I also logged a run at Rachel Carson Conservation Park in Montgomery County, and I decided to end the challenge with a day off work and a run in Ocean City (which also included Fenwick Island).

Map showing marker near Delmar, MD.
Participants could track their virtual progress on a map.

Here’s how my weekly mileage broke down:

  • Week 1 (June 15-21): 26.92 miles / Cumulative: 26.92 – 10.8%
  • Week 2 (June 22-28): 22 miles / Cumulative: 48.92 – 19.6%
  • Week 3 (June 29-July 5): 26.18 miles / Cumulative: 75.1 – 30%
  • Week 4 (July 6-12): 30.15 miles / Cumulative: 105.25 – 43.5%
  • Week 5 (July 13-19): 31.31 miles / Cumulative: 136.54 – 54.6%
  • Week 6 (July 20-26): 14.53 miles / Cumulative: 151.12 – 60.4%
  • Week 7 (July 27-Aug. 2): 35.25 miles / Cumulative: 186.37 – 74.5%
  • Week 8 (Aug. 3-9): 33.67 miles / Cumulative: 220.04 – 88%
  • Last Four Days (Aug. 10-13): 30.1 miles / Cumulative: 250.14 – 100.1%

I knew I was a little behind when I hit the 30-day mark on July 14 with 108.81 miles logged — 43.5 percent of the total. I hit the halfway mark in miles not too long after, on July 18.

However, what really did me in was the week I didn’t hit even 15 miles, during a super hot week that left me unmotivated.

Vanessa Junkin takes a selfie by "Maryland Welcomes You" sign.
I took this photo during my last run. I started in Maryland, went into Delaware and went back into Maryland.

So, I wouldn’t recommend what I did, but I’m still proud I was able to finish.

I liked how active the race was on social media (visit the Race Across Maryland Facebook page here), because it helped build community and was also interesting. Cyclist Mark Clem appeared in videos as he biked from Western Maryland to Ocean City, and I thought it was cool that he highlighted different areas of the state and different businesses. This made it more of an event rather than me just logging miles on my own.

In Salisbury, where I live, Mark visited Brew River, Perdue and Arthur W. Perdue Stadium (home of the Shorebirds).

There were also numerous opportunities to win gift cards to local businesses by answering questions or solving puzzles on Facebook, and I just won one this week. I got to pick from a variety of gift cards and chose a $10 gift card to Fins Ale House and Raw Bar in Berlin.

Race Across Maryland medal, which is in the shape of Maryland with the Maryland flag design on it. It says "The Race Across Maryland" and has a compass.
The Race Across Maryland medal.

The event also benefited the Maryland Food Bank, with $20,000 raised, according to a letter I received with my swag — a tank top (definitely a good selling point, as I have a ton of race T-shirts, but not tank tops) and medal.

My runs were mostly run-walks, including both trails and roads. Some were faster, like my many attempts at the City Park segment of the Tour de Salisbury, and others were slower, like my Tour de Salisbury segments at Naylor Mill and Assateague, along with the Naylor Mill 7K. I ended up with a total running time of 57:06:58 for 250.14 miles over the 60 days — a 13:42 average pace.

The 250 miles were not the actual driving distance — it was more of an aerial trip. From Oakland, Maryland, in Garrett County, to Ocean City, it’s about 322 miles by car, following highways. I’d need a little more time to log that many miles, so 250 worked well for me.

After finishing, I checked my mileage from June 15-Aug. 13, 2019, to compare, and my total for that 60 days was 212.62 miles. So, this definitely helped me up my summer mileage.

Learn more about the race and check out the Course Blog, which highlights spots from across the state, here.

If this sounds interesting to you, the race did reply to one of my comments on Facebook and said: “keep your eyes out for our next virtual adventure coming in the fall.”

This is also a great time to mention that BibRave just recently started offering reviews for virtual races on BibRave.com. Check out my first virtual race review — for this event — here! And, be sure to review your virtual races to help other runners.

Race Across Maryland finisher certificate for Vanessa Junkin, Eastern Shore Running Club, Overall Placement 297th of 696, Distance in Miles: 250.14.
My finisher certificate! Oh no, I just realized the typo! It says Everthing instead of Everything!

3 thoughts on “The virtual Race Across Maryland kept me running through the hot summer

  1. It’s nice to have a different type of challenge than just running a virtual 5K or half marathon.
    We have (in progress) a virtual challenge to run the distance between the New England capitol cities.
    The entire loop is over 700 miles, but you can do as short as a 56 mile segment.
    When I got the email we were in the middle of another heat wave and I just couldn’t see me doing it.
    I think these types of challenges are a great idea and hopefully they will continue when we get back to normal.
    Andy

    Liked by 1 person

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