Almost 700 people took part in the Coke 10K’s first virtual footrace.
The normal first weekend of May downtown Corinth staple was rescheduled due to COVID-19 concerns. The race went completely virtual and was held over a one week period from Sept. 26 to Oct. 3.
“Of the 1,200 or so who registered, we had 686 finish,” said Mona Lisa Grady, director of the 39th annual race. “Because it was virtual, anyone could enter anywhere in the world.”
Local participates could run the actual course specially marked for the week-long race. Runners could also get their miles counted on the course of their choice – anywhere in the world thanks to RaceJoy, a mobile app that recorded start times, miles ran and finish times.
Runners took part from 30 states, British Columbia and France.
Three hundred participates finished the 6.2 mile trek either by walking or running on the first day. Grady said one week later when the race was ending another 300 finished with small groups of people finished on the other open race days.
Although normal prizes were not awarded and all finishers received a shirt and medal, winners were denoted in each category.
The overall female winner was Wendy Gean of Savannah, Tenn. with a time of 46:10. Corinth’s Jennifer Jefcoat, who ran the local course, finished third.
The male overall winner was Josh Keenan of Tampa, Fla., with a time of 34:02. Local male finishers included Jared Hight, third place, Greg Windham, fourth place, and Nathan Hall, fifth place. Those three also clocked their times on the traditional Coke 10K course.
With the first virtual Coke 10K in the books, there’s a hope among many participates that the race remains open to virtual runners in the future.
“As tough as it has been at times, the virtual element has breathed new life into this classic race,” Grady told the Daily Corinthian. “It’s nice to see something so amazing come from something so tragic.”
She said it “hurt everyone” not being able to have the race as normal.
“Normal will return ... but a virtual option will likely return as well,” she said. “We loved sharing the race with the world.”