A medal is on its way to New York after an American runner took part in a virtual race near Kendal.
Paul d’Elisa, a New York real estate manager with 18 marathons under his belt, signed up for the Stainton Aqueduct 10k organised by Kendal-based Jogging Pals when lockdown forced the cancellation of the actual event.
Organisers wanted to keep runners active by running 10k along the Lancaster to Kendal canal…or anywhere. They offered a commemorative token to runners who emailed proof of the distance…and New Yorker Paul was one of more than 60 runners who took up the challenge.
“I was looking for a virtual event that was specifically for trail, as I live near the route of a trail race here that had to be cancelled,” said Paul, who’s been running since high school cross country races in 1979.
He has been doing more running since mid-March when the global pandemic meant he had to work from home rather than do a four-hour round trip commute to work in New York city every day.
Paul has completed more than 1000 events from 5k to marathon distance, including the New York marathon, the Country Music Marathon, and trail races at Paumanok (Long Island), Brookhaven and Sunken Meadow state park. And he took part in the Serpentine 5k race on a visit to the UK in 2006.
Jogging Pals director Wayne Singleton said that runners from around the UK, who would have been unlikely entries in the real event, had signed up for the virtual race.
“We are here to encourage runners at all levels of ability, and we were determined to help them keep motivated even while events have been cancelled,” he said. “It was a great surprise to get an entry from New York.” A percentage of the entry fee will be going to to the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership.
Jogging Pals organise couch to 5k programmes, along with run coaching for longer distances and events, from the Community Mile to Lakeland running breaks and holidays. They hope to resume some of their events in the near future. https://www.joggingpals.co.uk/