The weather is warming, and it is time to think about spring activities. In a normal year, plans for outdoor activities would be made. However, 2021 is shaping up to be another year of adjustment, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We can’t let this stop us from doing the things we love,” said Liz Ittner, Fairfax County Park Authority’s Wellness Coordinator and Healthy Strides program manager, adding, “We can still be active in a smart and safe way, and still get outside to better our health.”
Park Authority Fitness and Wellness staff have had to be innovative in their approach to the Healthy Strides 5K/10K, held annually on the first Saturday in May. “This year we’re bringing our runners and walkers together virtually, thanks to Zoom,” remarked Julie Frederickson, Fitness Director at Cub Run RECenter in Chantilly and the Healthy Strides 5K/10K Race Director. “We want people to feel like they’re part of something bigger, like how a race feels. At our race, the atmosphere is energized with excitement, music, and the thrill of being outside on a spring morning,” said Frederickson. “We want everyone who participates in our 2021 event to feel that still, even if it’s through a screen. It’s BYOB (Bring Your Own Banana) and run your own race, but we’ll be with you for every stride.”
The Healthy Strides Virtual 5K/10K race and Kids Dash takes place May 1, 2021. The interactive event will be streamed live via Zoom to registered participants, beginning at 8 a.m. Warm up together, see the Kids’ Dash, and start and finish your 5K or 10K on your own course. Stay on the Zoom event to hear motivating music and coaching all the way to your finish line. Join featured runners and walkers as they traverse park trails, neighborhood streets and treadmills. There will be opportunities to win prizes, too! Invite family and friends from far away to participate and join in the virtual fun.
Registered participants will receive a Healthy Strides 5K/10K tech tee and finisher medal mailed to their home before race day. Space is limited to the first 500 runners and walkers, so register early. The cost is $25. Children aged 2 to 10 can register for the Kids Dash for $15 and will also receive a kids-sized shirt and finisher medal.
Healthy Strides is supported in part by Fairfax County Park Foundation, Inova, Cigna, Giant, Virginia Pediatric Group, the Valis Family Golf Learning Center at Pinecrest Golf Course, Glory Days and Move Your WaySM. Race sponsorships for 2021 are still available. A portion of race proceeds benefits trail maintenance and expansion. For more information on Healthy Strides, visit the Healthy Strides website.