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Organizers and sponsors of the 2019 La Baie Run. Photo: James Morgan

2020 edition of La Baie Run to take place from July 18 to 25 as a virtual event

There will be one thing missing at La Baie Run in 2020 – L’Orignal Bay.

La Baie Run will be a ‘virtual’ event this year, with participants allowed to run their distances whenever and wherever they want between July 18 and 25. Participants will run their distances using the GPS tracking on their smartphones and once their race is completed, they can upload their time to SportStats where the results will be included in the event’s final standings. There will be the option to complete either 1km, 5km, 10km, half-marathon, full marathon or 72km ultra courses.

“We still wanted to do a community-centered gathering event to promote health, physical activity and well-being, so the choice was made to go virtual,” says Patrick Lalonde, owner of Lalonde Physio in L’Orginal, which is organizing the event.

All of the funds raised from La Baie Run will go to the Hawkesbury General Hospital Foundation and the hospital’s continuing expansion project. The initial edition of the event was held just last year in L’Orignal and raised more than $15,000 for the foundation.

Almost 500 runners took part in the 2019 edition of the event and Lalonde is optimistic that the virtual version of the event will equal both the participation numbers and funds raised last year.

“We just launched last week and we are at just under 100 people signed up, so it is starting to pick up,” Lalonde said. “What’s interesting is we’re not restricted by space and time so anybody across the world can sign up if they have a connection to this region. The sky’s the limit so it’s going to be interesting to see how it rolls out.”

Participants in the event will have an entire week to complete their distances and can choose to do so at any time during that period. That fact alone will allow everyone to take part no matter what the weather is like on the originally scheduled day of July 25.

“Last year La Baie Run was held on the hottest day of the year, but this year they’ll have a full week to pick and choose the day of the week and the time of day to complete their distance,” commented Lalonde, who hopes that option will help make up for the missing social aspect of the event in 2020.

“We’re hoping to match if not surpass (the total raised in 2019),” Lalonde said. “There’s no benchmark or previous history as to how such an event can turn out, but already the sponsors have joined in and they have been very generous despite these hard times. Now we are looking to the community to also turn out and make it a success once again.”

Lalonde also expects the virtual aspect of the run to continue in future editions of La Baie Run, but noted the community and social aspect of the event is extremely important.

“We will probably keep the virtual option, but we’re definitely going to put emphasis on in-person interaction and human connections (in future years),” Lalonde said. “To feel that energy all in one mass gathering is quite a unique experience and we definitely want to keep that focus.”

The Gold Sponsor for this year’s La Baie Run is the Prescott-Russell Employment Services Centre. The centre has thrown out a team challenge to other businesses in the area to help with fundraising. Any type of business can sign up and the teams do not have to complete any of the distances unless they so choose as the actual competition is for the amount of money raised by each team.

More information on the 2020 edition of La Baie Run can be found by visiting the Facebook event page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1447121982103952/ . You can also sign up as a participant here: https://events.com/r/en_US/tickets/la-baie-run-hawkesbury-july-775086

Reid Masson

Reid Masson is a graduate of Algonquin College's Journalism Program. He has over 20 years of experience as a staff writer and editor for various newspapers across Canada, including The Ottawa Citizen and Brockville Recorder and Times.

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