With a statewide order in effect for Californians to shelter in their homes to stop the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation (PPIE) has canceled its eighth annual Run for Education that was planned for next month -- sort of.
The organization is "disappointed" that the regular run won't happen as planned, but according to Executive Director Steve McCoy-Thompson, there's "a great opportunity for community building and support" with PPIE's new Virtual Race 2020.
Instead of a crowd of more than 3,000 gathering in-person like for last year's event, there's "a new plan in place" to transform the original April 19 run into a virtual race -- helping maintain both social distancing and a sense of community during a time when public events have been restricted.
From April 1-19, the Virtual Race "takes place where you are and when you want" by having participants track their fitness using a smartphone app. "And you don’t have to run anywhere if that’s not your thing," McCoy-Thompson said. Registrants may choose another activity if they wish including walking, swimming, dancing or yoga.
"Our goal is to collectively run/walk/dance/jump, etc. for 7,750 miles, which is the distance of a community grand circle tour from Pleasanton to Orlando, up to New York, back across the country to Seattle and back home again," McCoy-Thompson said. "It’s simple and we encourage you to get friends and family around the country to participate."
The event app also lets users create family or group teams, update their miles and upload photos.
Outdoor participation is allowed but registrants must maintain a six-foot social distance from individuals they are not quarantined with. Lots of sharing on social media using #PPIERace2020 is also highly encouraged to "make this tons of fun for everyone and help you recruit friends and family to participate."
With an eye toward the future and people getting back to things as usual, PPIE is also planning to host a back-to-school event in August with food, activities and an award ceremony where Virtual Race participants will be able to pick up their medal and race shirts. Date and details for that event have not yet been announced.
"Because we do not want cost to be a barrier for participation," McCoy-Thompson added that Virtual Race 2020 entry fees are lower than for last year's run -- just $10 for the Virtual Race or $20 for the Virtual Race and a race shirt. Both levels include a Run for Education medal and entry to the Back-to-School event.
"Although the focus of this event is no longer fundraising -- it’s "friend"raising -- we greatly appreciate any additional donations at the time of registration," he added. "By donating to PPIE's Virtual Race 2020, you are supporting key staff and programs which are needed to sustain our 15 public schools, 15,000 students and 9,400 school families."
Last year's Run for Education raised more than $115,000 used to support enrichment programs and other services and resources for PUSD schools.
The app for the race is Charity Footprints, which McCoy-Thompson said is in the process of finalizing right now, "but will be ready for download to mobile phones prior to the start of the Virtual Race on April 1."
Those already registered for the original Run for Education are asked to fill out this online form to let PPIE know whether they wish to switch their registration to Virtual Race 2020 or request a refund. The deadline to submit the form is 5 p.m. on March 22.
For more information, visit http://www.ppie.org.