Virtual Charity Races are Making a Difference - One Step at a Time

Race Through New York helps raise money for hunger relief

| 17 Feb 2021 | 10:21

Do you enjoy running? Would you also like to help a good cause? Well, here’s how you can do both at the same time.

Last week was the launch of Race Through New York, a virtual race where 20% of the proceeds go toward the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief organization, Feeding America.

Race Through New York is just a small portion of an event called Race Through America, a series of virtual races where every month a new state is chosen as a medal for completing a race. The race will continue every month until all 50 states are covered. January’s medal and the first of the series was California. New York’s race will go through the end of February.

As with the New York race, every person that signs up is simultaneously helping feed those in need across the nation.

“We have actually been doing virtual races for the past eight years,” said Angie Webb, president of the company coordinating the virtual events, Moon Joggers. “We did our first [race] to help a member of our running group whose son had cancer and they didn’t have insurance. From there we started doing races for different charities. Once COVID hit, a lot more people started joining our races and it’s been fun to see it grow and give people an opportunity to be part of something, even from home.”

Webb and Moon Joggers are no stranger to collaborating with nonprofits, and once you look at the numbers this becomes evident.

“Overall, we have raised more than $800,000 for different charities around the world,” Webb said. “Our goal is to donate $1 million by 2022, but I actually think we’ll reach our goal this year.”

Webb also said that while the races themselves are interesting and fun to be a part of, it’s even more fulfilling for her and the company to be able to introduce runners to new ways they can help while doing what they love the most.

“We do a lot of fun themed medals and for those that sign up for the medal, they are also given the chance to learn more about the charity that the race benefits,” said Webb. “We link to each charity we donate to so that our participants can go to their websites and learn more about what they do. This year we are donating 20% of each registration to charity and when someone signs up they are given the option to donate extra money to the charity and many people are so generous in donating.”

“Endurance and Work Ethic”

Another one of Moon Joggers’ goals is to make the registration and shipping process as easy as possible.

Through the Virtual Run Events website, runners can determine the length that they want to run. You can choose to complete a 1 Mile, 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon or 50 mile race. The cost is $25, which includes the cost for your medal, bib and shipping. A runner’s medal and bib ship within two to five days of signing up.

At the same time, some see these events as a personal challenge and goal, which makes sense when you consider that the runners track themselves and submit their own times.

“Any event that is rooted in a good cause is an event that I will support to the absolute fullest,” said Daniel Lynch, a Queens native and avid competition runner. “Although virtual events are different and can still be intimidating, I do enjoy them. I find that virtual races truly test one’s endurance and work ethic. There aren’t hundreds of people cheering you on. It’s totally up to you to get the job done.”

Along with the joy of the event and the message that comes with it, there’s one more thing that sticks out - the accessibility.

“Some people only like to do live races, surrounded by lots of people, and that’s totally fine,” Webb said. “Others really love the flexibility of a virtual race, where they can complete the race on their own time and at any location they choose: road, trail, track, treadmill. Virtual races also give people who do not like big crowds, or who do not want to wake up and wait outside on a cold morning waiting for the race to start, a chance to still participate.”

Webb and Moon Joggers don’t do this only because they love supporting good causes. They do this because they genuinely love running. Being able to turn a passion into something so beneficial is great for both the participants as well as the nonprofits they are collaborating with, and Moon Joggers aren’t stopping any time soon.

“We actually have about 100 races this year. You can find all of them on our website. We have a dinosaurs race series where we have a different dinosaur each time and the medals glow in the dark. That one is really popular, especially with kids.”

Races are available to participate in as long as you can sign up for them on time, meaning you can choose which medal you want or which charity or non-profit you want to run for. More information is available on the Virtual Run Event website.

“Virtual races ... give people who do not like big crowds, or who do not want to wake up and wait outside on a cold morning waiting for the race to start, a chance to still participate.” Angie Webb of Moon Joggers