Manea athlete aims to give residents something to smile about amid lockdown with virtual run
- Credit: Archant
A Manea athlete is hoping to give people across the country something to smile about during lockdown by organising a virtual running event.
Ben Fox alongside friend Steve Tarsitano launched the Manea Virtual 5k over two weeks ago, which will take place instead of their annual ‘race the tractor’ event held on Manea Gala day.
Both Ben and Steve choose a charity to raise money for every year, and this year, funds will go towards the Addenbrooke’s Liver Transplant Association, which supported Steve’s father-in-law Bob Richards before he passed away this year.
“I was approached by a lady who comes to the 5k and helped organise virtual park runs in the village,” Ben said.
“She said ‘have you thought about a virtual 5k in Manea?’ so I put the feelers out, got some positive feedback and it went from there.
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“The last three months have been depressing for some people. There are a lot of people doing positive things and I’m jumping on the bandwagon and keep trying.”
From dogwalkers to professional runners, those taking part in the event from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28 are encouraged to send proof of completing the five-kilometre course, or 3.11 miles, before receiving a medal by post or tractor delivery.
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Participants can also choose to stick with tradition and compete in a 5k race against three tractors, which will run at different times.
“The feedback has been good, there are new people signing up and that helps as well and puts it in a good way that we are encouraging new people to come,” Ben said.
“We have had people sign up from Southampton, Carlisle, Durham. I’ve got friends in Vietnam who’ve signed up, my brother in Australia, Steve also has family in the States taking part.
“It’s not just people from Manea, Chatteris, Doddington, but from further afield, which is good because we are spreading the word.”
Now in its sixth year, Ben hopes the event can continue to grow and help causes that perhaps need more help than others.
“Although people have done good work for charities, there are a lot of smaller charities that have not been able to fundraise,” he said.
“When you’re running on your own so much, you miss that competition, so hopefully it will give them something to compete with, but it’s about getting people involved and something to do.
“We can now afford medals and it’s about making it more appealing to people. Doing the tractor run for three years has encouraged people as well because it is something different, so it’s becoming more popular and something that will hopefully keep growing.”
For more information on the event or to sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Manea Virtual 5k Facebook page.