For those who thought the 2020 Coke 10K was history, and the streak of 39 consecutive Corinth races was broken, put your fears to rest.
The race, the largest 10K in Mississippi, was never cancelled and now the popular event is going virtual this year. According to race director Mona Lisa Grady that means anyone from anywhere around the country can enter, allowing the 2020 Corinth Coke ‘Virtual’ 10K to blow the lid off as far as how many people can now run the race.
“Our usual cap is 1,500 runners for the normal in-person race because that’s all our streets can hold,” said Grady. “But going virtual means anyone can enter from anywhere as long as they use the virtual app to track their times. We believe this will be a great thing for our race because now more and more people will read about us online and want to participate.”
Grady continued “Our original race date was May 2 but because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the health and safety concerns it created, we decided back in April to postpone the event. But we never cancelled it. No one really wanted that. And we certainly didn’t want to end the 39-year streak in which the race has become a city staple.”
Grady added that she and the Coke 10K staff allowed participants who had already registered and sent in their money to ask for a refund if they desired and there were a few that did so. But overall the percentage was around ten percent or less.
“We gave everyone thru 11:59 p.m., August 1 to request a refund if that’s what they wanted to do,” Grady stated. “After that, all pre-registered runners will automatically switch over to our online virtual race.”
With that deadline now passed everyone else can begin to sign up and register for the virtual race online. Just log on to Coke10K.com for more details and information.
“I’m not sure about all the big races around the country but many of them have offered this same method,” Grady continued. “Our founder, Kenneth Williams, runs the Boston Marathon every year but it, too, was postponed and they are signing people up now to run a virtual Boston Marathon hopefully sometime this fall.”
“Running this years Coke 10K virtually is not difficult at all,” said Grady. “Just download the GPS tracking app and that will keep track of your time. Best Times out of Olive Branch will still be in charge of keeping all the times updated and notify participants electronically.”
The Coke 10K director added that all participants will still receive a race packet, a 2020 race t-shirt with logo, a medallion and bibs will be available as well simply by downloading the link when they sign up. The only other difference in the virtual race and the usual in-person event is that no awards will be handed out.
“It will be just like always,” said Grady. “Except it’s online instead of in-person. And runners can run anywhere they want.”
So how did this virtual race thing happen? Who’s idea was it?
“Foot racing is an actual industry and back in mid-June the national company RunSignUp held a virtual symposium that both Mr. Williams and I sat in on,” said Grady. “It was for all their races and there a lot of them. They had this idea of virtual races to keep the industry alive and keep local races abreast of the latest news and developments. Running is a gift to our community but for others it’s a way of life.”
This year’s Virtual Coke 10K open-timing period is set to begin on Saturday, September 26 at 4 a.m. and end on Saturday, October 3 at noon.
“Now, more than ever, a safe and healthy lifestyle is extremely important,” Grady said in closing,” and by virtue of runners now being able to participate virtually we hope this helps more and more people get involved and mindful of that fact.”
Calendars, as well as other pertinent information, concerning the race, is now available on the Coke10K website.