Virtual race run for a good cause

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A virtual race has raised funds for mental health in Wanaka.
About 40 individuals and families recently took part in an online race organised by Wanaka gym The Fit Collective.

Owners Kim Parry and Andrew King said they used the video-conferencing platform Zoom to run the virtual race.
‘‘We thought ‘why don’t we do something just to keep people connected and happy?’.’’
People took part from where they could at home — ‘‘ in their lounge, back yard, garages’’.
Ms Parry said they helped people measure a 300m circuit they could do from their home.
Some marked out a distance along their street, while others marked out a route they could do in their backyard.
‘‘We had one family that mapped out a loop around their house.’’

There were two distances — a 3km sprint and a 7km version — broken up with a series of exercises such as burpees and sit-ups.
Weight training was improvised using what people had at home, including putting a block of wood into a bag, or carrying a backpack, she said.
The people were encouraged by the coaches throughout, Ms Parry said.
‘‘We were able to check in with everyone, just on their technique and making sure nobody was hurting themselves.’’

The live feed enabled all the participants to see and encourage each other.
‘‘It was really lovely because a lot of banter came back. We had people giving as much grief to the coaches as the coaches were giving to them, so some good one-liners popped out.’’
Along with locals people from further afield joined in — ‘‘we had some from Nelson, Auckland, one from Australia.’’

As well as being a fun activity, the race raised more than $500 for the Community Networks Wanaka mental health support fund.
‘‘Everyone was really generous,’’ Ms Parry said.
Their focus during Alert Level 4 and 3 had been to help people maintain connections and keep positive.
‘‘Just about keeping people happy and healthy.’’