Aravaipa Strong: Valley running company to hold virtual race

Aravaipa Running is used to putting on trail races for hundreds of people. Those races, typically ranging in distance from 5k to 50k, celebrate Arizona’s natural beauty, as runners explore the state’s deserts, mountains, canyons and forests. While the Phoenix-based company hopes to still make its next event a shared experience for runners, it will look a little different.

“We cannot get together. We cannot put on physical events,” says Aravaipa president Hayley Pollack. “But we still want to get the broad, general community of runners together, to do what they love.”

It’s called the “Aravaipa Strong Virtual Race.” During a time of social distancing, runners will sign up for a 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, marathon or 50k as usual, but at a location and time of their choosing.

“So that can be on a treadmill, it can be loops in your backyard, it can be loops in your neighborhood, or it can be at a mountain park or trail system near your house,” says Aravaipa Owner & CEO Jamil Coury.

Basically, runners get to make their own course. Runners also get to pick the day they run, anywhere from April 17-26. But like a more traditional race, there will be swag. Runners will be shipped a bib to wear, and will also receive a race t-shirt, sticker, and custom finisher’s medal.

“I think it could help people by keeping people connected, keeping people motivated with something to train for,” says Coury. “I know for myself, it’s been a bit hard this last week; do I have to go out and do my run and train?”

Pollack adds, “Even if they’re not lining up next to somebody, I think it’s important to have events where people can go out and have something to train for, and a goal. Just mentally, and emotionally, it’s helpful when things are stressful.”

Aravaipa Running’s already postponed at least its next seven physical races. And it’s an events-based company. So the $49 registration cost will help support Aravaipa’s team of employees. Additionally, 10% of proceeds will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

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