COCHRANE— One of the favourite events of the running community in Cochrane, Footstock 2021 is back this year in a virtual format running from June 6 to 13.
Footstock has been an annual event in Cochrane for 20 years, and 2020 was the first year it has been cancelled in its history.
“This year is going to be our first-ever virtual event, and we’re super excited and honoured with the trust that participants and sponsors have put in us in saying ‘yes, we will sign up for your event,’” said Meredith McMorran, chair of the board of race directors. “Without the participants, without the sponsors, there’s no way we would be able to hold this event, so we’re very grateful for the support we have received.”
When the committee started planning for the event for this year, McMorran said, they did not imagine the community would still be in the throes of the pandemic.
At the time of planning, the possibility of a virtual event was a Plan B for the group.
“When we planned Footstock 2020 there’s no way we had any notion that anything like the pandemic could happen and that our race would be sidelined. When we had to cancel the race last year, we were not in a position to switch to a virtual event,” she said. “When we started planning the race for 2021, we thought, just in case, we would make a plan for a virtual event.”
When the 2020 event was cancelled, registrants had the option of leaving their registration in place for the 2021 event, and many did exactly that, McMorran said.
Given the support they have seen over the past year, she said, they were determined to pull the event off this year.
“From the outset, we had a plan to make sure that, one way or another, we were going to put on an event. All of us who are involved in Footstock, believe strongly in the importance of community activities and the importance of physical activity,” she said.
This year, for the first time ever, the event includes an 18-kilometre corporate relay. The relay includes three, five- and 10-kilometre legs, giving participants of all ability the chance to compete.
The idea was to have businesses challenge their employees in a team-based, fun competition.
“The distances really allow for anybody to participate,” McMorran said. “What we’re really excited about is just that community feel and to have people come together to compete in the event.”
Competitors times at this year’s event are being posted on Leaderboard, a time-keeping web service.
Races are to be completed individually and times will be compared at the end of the week to determine the winners.
The opportunity to submit times to Leaderboard ends on Sunday (June 13).
The route for this year’s event begins at the northeast corner of the parking lot at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre and heads west along the Bow River. There are markers for the various distances at the five-, 10- and 18-kilometre points.
McMorran said she believes there is a demand in the community for this type of event, given the tough year everyone has had.
“We announced to participants and sponsors on May 6 that our event on June 6 would be virtual, I wasn’t sure what would happen to our registrations at that point, and registrations continued. That was really fantastic,” she said. “We are still really excited about putting on an event for the town. Especially with the corporate relay, the team, I think that really does provide something to look forward to, something to train for, and just some exchanges within families and working groups for community building and physical activity.”
To find out more about the event visit footstock.ca/.