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Virtual Road Relays

The first ever Virtual National Road Relay Championship is just about finishing up. Starting off as a simple discussion between James McCrae and OpenTrack, this event snowballed from what we initially thought would be ~800 competitors to nearly 5,500 athletes entering. One thing is for sure, COVID-19 cannot stem an athlete’s healthy appetite for competition!

We’ve seen some stunning runs, with superb individual performances, but importantly everyone seems to have got on-board with this idea and appreciated its sentiment in these difficult times. Providing a competitive edge to our daily allowance of exercise at a time when we would ordinarily be gunning it up that hill in Sutton Park and cheering along our clubmates, and sometimes others . . . has given many of us some unforeseen club-based athletics enjoyment! Most importantly, we at OpenTrack have seen an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the athletes, from the sheer quantity of entries, encouraging and appreciative emails to the already mentioned, stellar performances. So we thank you and congratulate you all, especially for adhering to the guidelines and respecting the importance of social distancing!

Some of you will have noticed that our servers slowed a bit on Tuesday and Wednesday. We were not prepared for the sheer popularity of this and were taken aback by the number of entries. This caused a few hiccups in the newly created system and I am aware that some of you will have been affected by this when trying to view and submit results. We apologise for the delay and thank you for your patience. If you have submitted your result and, after an hour or so of waiting, it is not showing, please attempt to do so again, as we’ve increased the capacity.

Originally Virtual Racing may have been seen as a substitute to road and track racing; however many benefits have emerged that sets Virtual Racing apart. The flexibility afforded by independently raced relay legs removes the need to travel, making races greener and more open to all. Without a need for pre-defined teams and race legs, the scoring algorithm has the opportunity to calculate multiple races in one. For example, THH hosted a mob match vs SLH as a subset of the VNRRC, as well as new results formats to be calculated for Age Graded, Mixed and Vet teams.

One of the key aspects to all of us is not just the athletics, but the fundraising aspect in these trying times. We have all seen and heard the news about how this virus is affecting everyone in the country and it is important to do our bit to support those who are supporting everyone else! So we urge you, if you have not done so already, and perhaps even if you already have, to please consider making a small donation to our JustGiving page.

For all future virtual events - and we hope to host many of these over the spring and summer - you will be able to make donations directly - either a fixed entry fee which we hope will be for charity, or a voluntary donation - through the entry process itself.

If anyone wants to have a chat regarding this competition, please feel free to jump on our forum and start some discussions, whether it is about the oddity of your route, or some suspect performances from a rival club! Browse to the new OpenTrack forum

Finally, if you want to organise a virtual competition, or propose one, we’ll be announcing details of how to do so soon, starting on the forum, which will be our new way to communicate with interested users. So, again, jump on the forum and keep an eye on it!

Finally, a quick summary of how the scores are looking so far (at the time of writing, with one suspense-filled hour to go!):

Mens 12 stage

(i.e. fastest 12 of everyone who took part in the club - no need to pre-declare!)

Womens 12 stage

Age graded teams of 12

In addition to traditional classic veterans teams, we have worked out an age graded best for everyone. Everyone in the club counts, young or old, and making it much more realistic to field a team of 12!

Want to give Opentrack a go?