My teammate and I completed a 200-mile run through history for Black Girls RUN!’s eRACE Racism virtual challenge

Vanessa Junkin posing in pink tank top, blue hat, light maroon shorts and running shoes. She is standing on grass with a parking lot in the background.
Here I am in my race shirt for eRACE Racism.

Disclaimer: I received an entry to eRACE Racism as part of being on the Brooks Run Happy Team.

During the month of June, I was running for more than myself. I didn’t want to let my partner down in the Black Girls RUN! eRACE Racism challenge.

For eRACE Racism, Powered by Brooks, Supporting Black Girls RUN!, runners could choose to complete a virtual 50-mile route from Chapel Hill to Greensboro, North Carolina, a virtual 100-mile route from Washington, D.C., to Richmond, Virginia, or a virtual 200-mile route from Nashville, Tennessee, to Louisville, Kentucky. Each route was part of the Journey of Reconciliationhere’s a link that tells more about the segment I participated in. These links were provided in a race email.

Runners could complete this alone or sign up to participate with a partner — and, Black Girls RUN! could pair you with that partner. Partners from different racial backgrounds were matched.

Race bib for Black Girls RUN! eRace Racism, powered by Brooks. Text in the middle says "Team SummerJean Vanessa," and dates are June 1-30, 2021.
We were provided with a blank bib for the event.

I selected the 200-mile route to complete with a partner chosen by Black Girls RUN! My partner was SummerJean, and our team was named Team SummerJean Vanessa. We connected briefly via email at the beginning of the challenge, but after each run I did, I got an emailed update on how our team was doing via ChallengeHound, so I knew we were working together. ChallengeHound synced with Strava, which I already use, so as my runs went from my Garmin watch to Strava, they were automatically counted for the challenge miles.

Along the way, we could follow our progress on a map. Because SummerJean ran and walked more than I did, we completed our team 200-mile goal on June 23. In those 23 days, SummerJean logged 135.70 miles and I logged 68.19 miles.

I had a light-mileage week for the third week of June, but I was determined to run 100 miles during the month, even though we had completed the challenge. I felt like I’d committed to run 100 miles, and I did.

In the last three days of June, I ran 15.51 miles to make it to an even 100. It was hot and humid, so on the last day, I split the 8.2 miles I had remaining into two runs — a 4.5-mile morning run with my friend Sabrina and 3.7 in the evening with the Eastern Shore Running Club.

Selfie of Vanessa Junkin in pink tank top holding bowl of ice cream.
After finishing 100 miles of running for the month, I enjoyed some ice cream.

As part of this event, I received a bright pink tank — there were a few choices for shirts, but I always love a tank for race swag — and a medal is on the way.

I enjoyed participating in this challenge for a cause, and although I received a free entry, I did make a donation to Black Girls RUN! Learn more about the organization and donate here.