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Fly Races virtual facilities

Fly Races are a soaraway success for 255 virtual runners

Fly 5K's first double-header saw 537 in action over the weekend

Fly 5K's attention to detail (and sense of humour) included the provision of virtual portaloos for their first-ever weekend double. There was even a virtual bag drop, virtual chequered flag drop, and post-race virtual bananas pictured on social media to give a truly authentic race day feel for the 282 Fly 5K runners on Saturday (13 March) and 255 participants in an assortment of virtual distances on Sunday. 

With the founding father of Fly 5K, Graham Smith of St Albans Striders, celebrating his birthday with a tidy 22:22 5K on Saturday it was a hectic weekend. Extra race directors and other volunteers were drafted in to ensure the unqualified success of this expansion of the original 5K Saturday morning concept.

The weekend started in conventional fashion with 282 runners logging a 5K virtual on Saturday. Fastest were Tom Halling (St Albans, 16:07) and Joanna Parker (19:33). Claudine Benstead (W60 Okehampton, 90.37%) led the age-grading – as she so often does – with a classy 20:46.

Sunday was arranged to provide an opportunity for Fly 5K members to test themselves near to home at a distance of their choice, before racing for real resumes next month. And what a choice there was! Everything from another flying 5K (many runners did the double) to a feisty 50K – with just about every distance in between.

The ultramarathon had five runners who were led by Andrew McKillop (St Albans Striders, 4:19:00) and Susan Mansfield (North Herts Road Runners, 5:48:32). Unsurprisingly, the most popular distance was the 10K with 72 finishers in 1:34:00 in the wake of James Lally (36:07) and Sally Onn (Blagnac SC, 38:48) from France.

There were competitors from Australia, Bermuda, France, Wales, Isle of Wight, and wherever Lonely Goats roam! Runners could select from eight race distances: 50K, marathon; 20 miles; half marathon; 10 miles; 10K; 5 miles or 5K. 

Among the huge number of positive comments on social media was this post from a 10-miler: “Well I am still glowing and buzzing from yesterday's run. Very proud that we came last - how funny is that? I'm just so proud and amazed I managed to make that distance and we only walked some hills and some parts. Ran most of it and finished strong. Thank you Fly Races for making me do that”.  

Full results of all the weekend's Fly virtual events are available at the Fly 5K website here

Image: Virtual portaloos ready for use courtesy Fly 5K Facebook

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