02:00PM, Monday 07 September 2020
The end of August not only marked the end of the meteorological summer, but also the end of a remarkable virtual challenge taken on by Maidenhead Athletic Club’s (MAC) Anthony Hall and Alejandro del Campo.
Both challenged themselves to complete The Great Virtual Race across the state of Tennessee, devised by a man named Lazarus Lake. It challenged competitors to run or walk just over 1,000kms in four months from May to August.
They each managed to smash that target, with Anthony managing to re-cross the state (2,044km) just a day before the end of August and Alejandro covering 1,000m, with 1,080kms of running and 529kms of walking.
Alejandro’s longest run was the Maidenhead Boundary Walk/Run at 26.14kms.
“Normally the word virtual race sends shivers down my spine,” said Alejandro. “But this one was different, not a one-day event but a four-month journey with an amazing Facebook community built around the crazy creator of the Barkley Marathons.
“The original goal, traversing the width of his home state of Tennessee in four months looked reasonably achievable, with 1,000kms translating to just over 8km or 5miles a day.
“Anthony decided to push ahead with the double buzzard (doubling the distance), whereas I settled for the humbler objective of 1,000miles, just over 13km daily average. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, but then my right hamstring complained, not a loud yell, but an annoying grumble. Thankfully the race allowed for walking and running miles, so after a week of long hikes I was back on track. A few exotic runs on the Sussex coast during this year’s staycation saw me cross the finish line with three days to spare.”
Anthony pushed himself a little harder to complete the crossing of Tennessee twice. But he was still a long way behind the competitor who completed eight crossings in the four-month window, covering 8,368kms. He completed his 2,000km challenge during MAC’s club run on Sunday.
“Over the four months I covered the required 2,044km (1,270miles) to finish with a day to spare,” he said.
“This equated to averaging 16.6km (just over 10 miles) per day and I ended up accumulating about 15,000m in elevation gained over that time. I finished 1,176 of the 19,600 that entered. The leader, a US marine, clocked up over 8,400kms.
“The race director Lazarus Lake has a fluid definition of 1,000km, hence an extra 22km added for good measure. 1,000km was not the finish and sadly a good few will have not read the rules properly and will have been deemed not to have finished. Harsh.
“For my efforts, I received a t-shirt, a belt buckle, a Tennessee pin and a commemorative map of Tennessee.”
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