Fitness Challenge Blog

Running Your First Employee 5K Challenge

running a 5K as a fitness challenge

Taking your fitness challenge to the next level by integrating virtual races.

January 24, 2021 by Joseph

Many years ago, after starting my first job out of college, I was asked by coworkers if was interested in joining their running group. While I ran often training for other sports and spent countless hours running as part of PT in the Army, I never considered myself a runner and never really thought of running as a sport. I had a lot to learn. I ended up joining the running group and participated in several 5 and 10Ks with them. Nothing serious and I was never the best runner, but it was great camaraderie and I was introduced to a sport that I would participate in to this day.

Employee running and walking groups are very common or, at least they were, until COVID shut down offices. In many cases, the point of the group was to gradually improve fitness and eventually build up to run in a short race. This can be a significant life experience for many who have never been very physically active. While accumulating steps or active minutes in order to have the most at the end challenge is a good start at getting in shape, actually preparing for and running in an actual race can be a turning point in personal wellness.

AccuRun Partnership

With the partnership between ChallengeRunner and AccuRun, challenge administrators may now create actual, verifiable races for their participants that they can run virtually. The admin can not only create a virtual 5K or 10K for participants, they can also create a series of training races to build up to that race. In this way, the challenge admin can help the normally sedentary office worker progress from brief walks to short runs and eventually to their first real race. Likewise, races can be set up for those who are already involved in running and want to maintain the atmosphere of a live race virtually.

Checking Off the Bucket List

There are many people who think they would never be able to run a marathon. As a matter of fact, on many sites, running a marathon is at the top of bucket list items. I have personally helped many people who never thought they would make it 26.2 miles cross the finish line. You can too. With the help of AccuRun, you can create a series of races throughout the year to gradually increase the runner’s distance. Taking a budding runner from 0 to 26.2 is an incredible experience and one that won’t soon be forgotten by participants; unlike their last walking challenge.

Building Your First 5K

ChallengeRunner has recently added a quick selection option for AccuRun. To get started, use the following steps:

  1. Click the Create a New Challenge button on the Admin page
  2. Select the AccuRun option and click Next
  3. Enter the race name and click Next
  4. Make changes to the description and click Next
  5. Set the race options as follows:
    • GPS Accuracy – Medium will work with most modern smartphones
    • Verification - Use Basic if you want all data to be validated and use None if you want participants to be able to manually enter data
    • Enter the Starting and Ending dates for participants to run the race
    • Distance – Select 5K for starting out or set a custom distance in meters less than this when starting out

While participants can use the ChallengeRunner apps to manually enter race times, the better option is for them to use the free AccuRun app. This app is specifically designed to capture runner data and provide feedback. Once the runner starts the race using the app, it tracks their position using GPS and calculates the distance travelled. Periodically throughout the race, the app provides audible updates on speed, position, and distance remaining. Once the runner completes the required distance, they are notified that the race is finished and their data is automatically submitted and leaderboard updated.

With the AccuRun partnership, you can now create races that put simple challenges to shame. Instead of just using an activity that may or may not validate health or fitness, a virtual race demonstrates actual fitness improvement and will undoubtedly improve your participant wellness. Since most of the physical races will be cancelled again in 2021 (and possibly beyond), now is the time to add racing to your wellness arsenal.

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