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Oldest road race in Columbus goes virtual in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to events going virtual.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Like many aspects of life, runners have felt the effects of the pandemic.

Most races have been canceled or turned virtual.

One race that turned virtual is the 43rd annual AEP Ohio Columbus 10K presented by RUNOHIO.

The race will be held virtually over the course of nine days, starting September 12.

Race director Andy Harris told 10TV safety is the first and foremost goal of the race and they are making the best of the situation at hand.

“We are looking forward to, even in these unprecedented circumstances, running and walking with the Columbus running community,” Harris said.

The AEP Ohio Columbus 10K is the oldest road race in Columbus, dating back to 1977 when it was known as the Citizen Journal 10K.

This year’s event will be the first for Rob Koch.

“I’ll be honest. At first it seemed a little bit, I don’t know, intimidating, overwhelming, whatever, because I had never run," Koch said.

"I had only run 5Ks in my years of running,” he said. 

“But I was like, ‘You know what. Why not? Let’s give it a whirl.’”

It will not be the classic race experience but participants will have the opportunity to run or walk at their own pace, whenever and wherever they want over that nine-day period of time.

“If you look at that forecast you can find your favorite day,” Harris said.

Race organizers also designed a new four-year medal series, with each medal magnetically connecting together to eventually form the shape of Ohio.

“We wanted to make sure that people continued to have something to train for," Harris said.

"What better way to try to best replicate the race-day excitement and experience, than by really increasing the swag that you get?” Harris said.

With the incentive to run the following three years to complete the medal series, many may find the motivation they need to run beyond this year.

To register for the AEP Ohio Columbus 10K or to learn more about the event, click here.

Other races that have seen changes this year include the 2020 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon, which was canceled.

Instead, organizers created a virtual challenge to continue that support for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Click here to learn more about how to participate or donate to NCH. 

The OhioHealth Capital City Half and Quarter Marathon kicks off virtually August 28, giving runners and walkers three days to complete their miles.

Click here to learn more about those races.

There are dozens of other local races continuing in one way or another this year. To find one nearby, click here