Continuing to stay F.I.T.

Continuing to stay F.I.T.

More than 200 runners and walkers were scattered throughout the Monastery’s trails and practicing “social distancing” on Sunday, March 15, at the F.I.T. ‘Rock 5K/5-Mile Trail Race.
Local obstacle course race company creates virtual challenge to ‘promote some positivity’

CUMBERLAND – While sporting events throughout the region and country were getting called off due to the concerns of COVID-19, Robb McCoy dug his heels in the dirt and continued with his plans to welcome runners and walkers to the F.I.T. ‘Rock 5K/5-Mile Trail Race on Sunday, March 15, at the Monastery.

And what was the reaction he received?

“I had a couple of people ask for transfers,” he said. “I had hundreds of people thank me.”

Of course, McCoy, who is the award-winning race director, CEO, and owner of F.I.T. (Fortitude, Integrity, and Toughness) Challenge, and his staff made practicing “social distancing” their top priority, and with over two hundred runners invading the Cumberland course for the two races, they formulated a crafty plan that actually made that morning an eerily quiet one.

“We changed the format a little bit to make it so there were no crowds,” McCoy said. “You wouldn’t have even known that anybody was there. We didn’t corral everyone at the start; we did an open rolling start format, so anytime between 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., runners just went to the start line and ran. You’re looking at a couple hundred people and you’re spreading them out throughout five miles out there in the Monastery.

“Honestly, there were never more than four or five people in the registration area,” McCoy continued. “And there were never more than 10-12 people in the finish area. The Parks & Rec director, Mike Crawley, came by and took pictures, and he said, ‘Listen, just in case anybody complains, I’m going to show them these pictures. This is the height of your event and there’s nobody here.’”

While that race was a success, McCoy’s F.I.T. Challenge XIV obstacle course race that was scheduled for April 4 at Diamond Hill Park was postponed the following day, but that didn’t stop him from getting folks to stay active and “promoting some positivity” along the way.

The day after F.I.T. Challenge XIV was postponed, McCoy created the F.I.T. Virtual Challenge, which allows participants to “pick something that challenges you,” McCoy noted.

Want to run a 5K or a half marathon? Go ahead. Hate running? Want to do a workout? That’s also cool. And you can do whatever you want indoors or outdoors, at any time of the day, and either by yourself or with someone else, as long as you are practicing “social distancing” of course!

“The idea is to just get some positivity going,” McCoy added, “to feel like you’re pushing yourself a little bit and challenging yourself. We left it kind of open-ended where it’s just a challenge. Some people are doing workouts, and most people are obviously running. I just want to promote some healthy activity and get people to do anything to just get out there, challenge yourself, and feel good.”

The fee to compete is $27.37, which is the going rate for your average 5K, and participants can visit www.fitchallenge.org to sign up or for more information. And those who sign up will certainly get their bang for the buck.

“We have a choice of seven medals from our past events that you can pick,” McCoy said, “and we’ll send you a T-shirt, a head buff, a bib, and some other stuff. There are some people who have that one event that they were unable to make, so to be able to get that medal is awesome. And we’re asking people to share (their challenge) on social media so that it’s something positive. Look at the challenge that I was able to accomplish in spite of everything.”

McCoy, whose company also hosts the popular three-race TrailFecta series each fall at the Monastery, reported on Tuesday morning that 170 people signed up, and last Thursday afternoon, less than 48 hours after announcing his virtual event, “I had 87 signups,” McCoy said. “I went to the post office (that morning) and sent off a whole bunch of stuff, including packages to people in Florida, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and South Carolina.”

As for F.I.T. Challenge XIV, “It’s certainly not canceled,” said McCoy. “As Mike said, ‘Once all this stuff is lifted, we’ll find a date that works.’ And the town of Cumberland has just been unbelievable. Mike, (Mayor) Jeff (Mutter), and (Town Clerk) Sandra (Giovanelli) are really awesome to work with. I have a license for the April 4th event and they said they’ll just transfer it to the next (event).”