It took me an extra day, but I finished the virtual Race Across Maryland

Vanessa Junkin holds up black towel that has a shape of Maryland with the Maryland flag design. It says "Mountains & Beaches and Everything in Between" at the top and "I heart Maryland."
Here I am with my finisher towel for this year’s Race Across Maryland.

It took 61 days instead of 60, but I completed 250 miles on foot this summer to finish the Race Across Maryland on Aug. 14.

This was the second year of the virtual Race Across Maryland, a Corrigan Sports Enterprises event that I participated in last year. I had fun last year, and it kept my motivation up during the hot summer, so I decided to take part again this year — and for the second year, we had an Eastern Shore Running Club social team. We had 16 runners on the ESRC team this year.

Participants could choose to complete 250 miles (West-East) over the 60 days, like I did, or to complete 100 miles (North-South) during the same time frame. For those who wanted even more mileage, there was a Double Cross option. As noted, this was a virtual event, so we weren’t literally running across the state. Miles could be logged from anywhere and at any time.

I made the same mistake I did last year by not spacing out my miles evenly enough. Last year, I ran 81.69 miles in the last two weeks. This year, I completed 83.97 miles in the last two weeks — 74.47 running and 9.5 walking.

As a Road Runners Club of America certified coach, this isn’t something I would recommend. However, I know my body well and can distinguish between soreness and injury. I knew I could back off at any time, and I did include a lot of walking. Also, I have the experience of running higher-mileage weeks — this was just higher weekly mileage than I’ve been running lately.

Close-up photo of Race Across Maryland medal, which has the state on it with the state flag pattern in the state.
Here’s my medal for the Race Across Maryland.

Most of my runs throughout the summer have been run-walks, which helps me keep up my motivation to run in the heat and humidity, as well as my stamina. However, I didn’t want to count just walks. I realized later that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, since walking during the runs was just fine in my mind, and it was still time on my feet. Walking was completely allowed in this virtual challenge.

So, while I did not go back and add in any prior walks, in the last week of the challenge, I walked some so that I would not strain my body by increasing the running mileage so much. Walking also felt better on the super hot days. And, I wasn’t counting every step I took (like walking from my car to my office), just walks that I was doing for the purpose of exercise.

During the last week of the Race Across Maryland — which happened to be a week during which there was a heat advisory — there were four days in which I split up my miles, making the mileage more palatable. Three days I split the miles between the morning and evening, and on the last day, I did a three-mile run in the middle of the day, came home to hydrate more and fuel up, and then walked the last two miles.

I logged my time for each run (and I did sometimes stop my watch at stoplights or to talk to friends or things like that, but of course it isn’t consecutive time anyway), and ended up with a total of 57 hours, 48 minutes and 15 seconds. This is an average 13:52 pace.

Vanessa Junkin takes a selfie with her Race Across Maryland medal.
Here I am with my finisher medal.

Last year, my average pace was 13:42, so the extra walking I did toward the end hardly impacted my average pace compared to last year. Also, I was not doing this for speed. That would certainly not be smart to try to run every run as fast as possible for two months.

Here’s how my weekly mileage broke down (I track my weeks Monday-Sunday):

  • Week 1 (Tuesday-Sunday, June 15-20): 14.94 miles
  • Week 2 (June 21-27): 25.75 miles
  • Week 3 (June 28-July 4): 36.59 miles
  • Week 4 (July 5-11): 27.88 miles
  • Week 6 (July 12-18): 10.05 miles
  • Week 7 (July 19-25): 28.35 miles
  • Week 8 (July 26-Aug. 1): 26.94 miles
  • Week 9 (Aug. 2-8): 35.5 miles
  • Week 10 (Monday-Saturday, Aug. 9-14): 34.67 miles running and 9.5 miles walking = 44.17 miles

Total: 150.17 miles

This year, the event had the theme of “Brew and Bakery Edition,” which is a lot of fun as I love brews (beer and coffee) and bakeries. Race Across Maryland vlogger and cyclist Mark Clem visited various businesses relating to this theme on a trip across the state.

There were also giveaways on social media via interactive posts such as bingo and a word search, or via commenting on a post. I won a $10 gift card to a place of my choice from a list, and I chose one to Evolution Craft Brewing Co. here in Salisbury.

The event benefits the Maryland Food Bank and small businesses across the state. Learn more here.

Participants received a beach towel — which I prefer to a shirt or medal as I have tons of shirts and I will use the towel — and finisher medal, along with digital badges, a digital bib and digital certificate. The medal is nice, but I no longer keep all my medals because if I kept accumulating them over the next 40-50 or so years, I would have way too many. It was more about the personal challenge for me, and it was fun to have the ESRC social team, too.

I enjoyed participating for a second year, even though I sabotaged myself by saving so much mileage for the end. Assuming the event comes back next year, I will have the goal of spacing my miles out a little better and not logging 80-plus miles in the last two weeks.

Selfie of Vanessa Junkin posing with beer.
Here I am after finishing the last two miles of the Race Across Maryland in the summer heat.

This race is very active on social media, if you’d like to follow on Facebook or Instagram.

Read my BibRave review — and write your own — here.

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