Three-hundred participants competed in the TriStars Sooke 10K in 2019. (Sooke News Mirror file photo)

Three-hundred participants competed in the TriStars Sooke 10K in 2019. (Sooke News Mirror file photo)

Sooke 10K sets virtual pace

Runners may be running alone, but they can still feel as if they’re part of a larger group

As runners settle into the starting line for this year’s TriStars Sooke 10K race, they’ll be there, alone.

With races around the world cancelled, on hold, or up in the air, a new kind of event is gaining traction: virtual races. And the Sooke race is no different.

The TriStars Sooke 10K is part of the widely popular eight-race Vancouver Island Race Series, which runs from Victoria to Courtenay in the first four months of the year.

RELATED: Organizers cancel Sooke 10K over COVID-19 concerns

Midway through the series in 2020, race organizers were forced to call off the remaining three races, including Sooke, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year the Island Race Series went virtual, with some surprising results.

“People really got behind it,” said Louise Hodgson-Jones, general manager of the Vancouver Island Runners’ Association.

“It’s gone really well. I’m kind of blown away, to be quite honest.”

So far, 369 people have signed up for the race series virtually, on par with the number of people who run in the in-person races.

The virtual format offers two challenges per race: a run challenge and a photo challenge.

In keeping with the tagline, “run series, fun series,” race organizers want participants to have fun so they can choose to race or just run for fun. Participants also have the option to post their results on to Race Roster, an event registration system, during the week of each challenge.

The TriStars Sooke 10K race is set for the week of March 31 to April 7.

The run challenge includes a Coffee Climb where participants are asked to cover the most elevation in a 10K distance. The run can be on trail or road. And the photo challenge? Take a selfie with a coffee or treat from a favourite coffee shop.

Hodgson-Jones said many participants run the designated course (in Sooke’s case from EMCS, down Sooke River Road and back) on race weekend, but they’re free to pick any course they choose. Some participants even registered thousands of miles away from Denmark to Newfoundland.

“It’s rather unique that way,” Hodgson-Jones said. “It opens up all these races to anyone in the world, really.”

Hodgson-Jones is surprised virtual races continued to evolve over the last year. She pointed out part of the reason is that race directors are more inventive and creative in presenting their events.

With all the virtual race series’ success, does Hodgson-Jones look forward to another year of virtual racing?

“I’ll admit I’m looking forward to getting back to in-person racing,” she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich police officers were one group of dozens that submitted dance clips to the Greater Victoria Festival Society, to help create the Dance Across Victoria video montage. (Youtube/Screenshot)
WATCH: Saanich police, Victoria mayor bust some moves in new Dance Across Victoria video

Montage features submitted dance clips from across Greater Victoria

Saanich’s Malia Brodie competed in the Vancouver qualifiers for the 2020 National Championships. (Photo by BC Sport Karate Snaps)
PHOTOS: Saanich teen awarded $1,800 Karate Canada bursary to pursue officiant certification

Malia Brodie, 18, has black belt, nearly 15 years experience in karate

Former Oak Bay High Grade 12 student Brandon Kip plays the $100,000 Steinway piano in the Dave Dunnet Theatre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay High Alumni Association passes torch to new president

The association has given back more than $70,000 in its 16 years

This photo courtesy of Leanne Grover shows the immediate aftermath of the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents. (Leanne Grover/Submitted)
Residents of a Central Saanich duplex ‘fortunate’ to escape Sunday morning fire

Damage to the duplex extensive with one resident said to be ‘catatonic’ after escaping building

After more than a year, open forums will resume at a Saanich committee of the whole meeting on April 19 with up to five residents having the chance to speak for three minutes each about any district-related matter. (Black Press Media file photo)
Public input resumes at Saanich council following lengthy suspension due to pandemic

Up to five residents can present by phone for up to three minutes starting April 19

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read