Virtual Mother’s Day Run and Walk

ROBERT MAGOBET

Three local entities have organized a way to run in celebration of Mother’s Day this weekend, even during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

State Farm Agent Jennifer Dietsch, Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center and the Women’s Health Center have joined forces and created Chanute’s Virtual Mother’s Day Run and Walk event. The event is free and will take place Saturday and Sunday.

Participants can run, walk or jog their choice of 1 mile, a 5K (3.1 miles) or a 10K (6.2 miles). 

During or after the run, walk or jog, folks are asked to post their photos to Facebook with a hashtag of #ChanuteMother’sDayRun2020.

While the event itself is free, those who want to don commemorative T-shirts that have “Virtual Mother’s Day Run-Walk Coronavirus 2020” printed on the front will pay $5 per shirt. To order a shirt, send name, address, phone number and size to Dietsch’s office, 1518 South Santa Fe Ave., by Friday at 5 pm in the office’s drop box. Shirts will be available a week after the run.

“It’s just kind of to promote what people are doing already, which is walking, jogging or running, and just hyping it up a little for Mother’s Day weekend because we don’t have a graduation now. We don’t have people going places, so it might be something fun for people to do over the weekend with your family or your friends,” Dietsch said. “And of course, we are obviously promoting social distancing. Even I have a few people, we’re going to run together on Saturday, a group of 10 or less of us. And of course social distancing while we run. So we are promoting that just to be safe.”

That’s what the whole notion of virtual running is about. Running enthusiasts can choose Saturday or Sunday, as well as their own times and places. And there is no predetermined map.

The State Farm agent herself runs every Saturday for 6 or 7 miles with a fairly good idea of the places she will go in Chanute. Some of those places Dietsch runs, though, are in nearby areas.

Dietsch has been an avid runner for a number of years, even participating in a running group that consistently paces in cities such as Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Wichita. With COVID-19 cases still rising in cities every day, marathons have been transitioned from physically running together on streets to virtual running, though the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was postponed to the fall. 

Aside from the annual OKC marathon, however, every other run paid for by Dietsch has organized a virtual run for its participants. And so Dietsch thought the idea could come to fruition in Chanute.

“I was thinking, ‘Well gosh, why can’t we just have a virtual fun run for Chanute because right now people are more active?’” Dietsch said. “People are out walking, they’re are out biking. You see a lot more activity going on. And just literally last week, I got up on Tuesday morning … and I went for a run. And I got back and thought, ‘Why are we not doing this? Let’s do something.’”

What came to Dietsch’s mind first was the hospital, as it is a huge entity that serves hundreds of people and can be used as a quick turnaround to get the word out. Dietsch called NMRMC Communications and Strategic Planning Director Patricia Morris to discuss plans, and both parties concurred that it was a good idea. Since Friday, both Dietsch and Morris have been working on flyers and other promotion in an effort to let everyone know.

“We are promoting getting out and being active, which is great because you’re already seeing that happen during the pandemic right now,” Dietsch continued. “I am running and biking every day. And literally, my friends and I are together, we’re just always like, ‘Look at all the people out. Look at all the people walking. Look at all the people at Santa Fe Lake.’ It’s just great to see it.”

For more information on the weekend’s run, call Dietsch at 620-431-4280.

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