(Photo courtesy of UVU Alumni Relations)

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the function of many everyday activities, making it difficult to take part in events that happen throughout the year. One of those activities is getting together to run a race. Many people love the camaraderie and fitness that is provided through races, especially 5ks. This year, Utah Valley University’s Homecoming Week was forced to change — yet people still wanted to participate in events, including the 5k, so, UVU decided to host it virtually. Between Sept. 1 and Sept. 6, many students, alumni and faculty safely participated in the virtual event. Though they were not together, they were still able to participate in an event from a distance. 

The virtual aspect of the run created a unique experience for runners — It allowed them to choose their own course and their own times. Runner’s would record their times and track the course with GPS and post a screenshot of the results. This let people run a race without the risk of contracting COVID-19. This also allowed people who were not in the are to run and participate. 

One of the participants who graduated from UVU and is now living in Washington, D.C., talked about how they enjoyed participating in homecoming events. They wanted to help out and reached out to fellow alumnus that they knew. They even used Pokemon Go to record their time before they posted the results on social media. Though they didn’t have the chance to be all in one place, they were still able to feel like part of the activities and they hope to be able to run more virtual runs in the future.

Though COVID-19 is keeping many from obtaining the same level of social interaction, it has caused people to think more creatively to come up with new ways to do activities with each other. Virtual races are only one of the many different ways people can still participate in this Homecoming season. Getting involved in these different activities are a great way to stay socially active while still keeping yourself and others safe. 

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