Jim Serger and his wife, Gina, will run the Carmel Marathon just as planned on April 4.
The Carmel couple will just be doing it by themselves in their neighborhood.
The 10th annual Carmel Marathon was moved from April 4 to June 14 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the first time, a virtual option has been added.
“Most traditional marathons typically do not offer a virtual option,” Carmel Marathon race director Todd Oliver said. “Therefore, for us to offer it this year is very much a unique circumstance. We have never offered a virtual option and will not offer it again unless we are faced with another unique situation.”
Serger, who ran in the Carmel Marathon in 2017, and his wife have been training since early December 2019. When they heard about the virtual option, Serger said they jumped on it.
“We can still do it at our own pace and maintain social distancing,” he said. “We could still support the 10-year anniversary of the Carmel Marathon and put our training to use. I think there are a lot of positives to this instead of being confined and saying, ‘I’m not going to go out.’”
The couple will keep track of miles on a smartphone app. Serger said he has mapped out a 7.3-mile course through his neighborhood that ends at his house. After three loops, they will add a final run to finish the 26.2 miles.
“We’ll probably do some walking. That’s a lot of running,” Serger said. “This will be Gina’s first marathon.”
Oliver said the virtual option offers participants the opportunity to finish the run.
“Distance running requires 12 to 16 weeks of training, so to have the finish line taken away after all of that hard work can lead to depression, sadness and even lethargy,” Oliver said. “Allowing them to finish virtually, then receiving the medal to hang on the wall is rewarding and provides a visual proof of all the miles logged to complete the goal.”
After participants show proof of completing the distance by sending a screenshot of their watch or workout, Oliver said race organizers will mail a medal, shirt and bib and update their virtual entry with date of completion, final distance run and time.
Oliver said he estimates less than 5 percent of people registered for the marathon will do the virtual run.
“The virtual option is only for those currently registered and cannot return in June,” Oliver said. “We are not offering this to non-registered folks. This is a way for us to say thanks to those who were planning to run with us.”
If the race is postponed again because of COVID-19, Oliver said the event will be canceled for 2020.
Learn more at carmelmarathon.com.