Support Michigan Parks by Completing a Virtual 5K

Normally, going for a run on your own means zero fanfare. Sure, you’ll feel great that you took the time to get it in. You’ll feel virtuous about the health benefits of logging some miles, but there’s no finish line and no crowd cheering you on to the end. There’s definitely no shiny medal to add to your collection.

A new event this January aims to change all that. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Epic Races invite everyone to take part in the inaugural Shoe Year’s Day Virtual 5K. All you have to do is register by Jan. 31 and then head to your favorite park or trail to run your own 3.1 miles!

Not a runner? No problem. Walking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, dancing, skipping, hopping (you get the idea) are all acceptable ways to complete the distance. It’s up to you.

There still won’t be cheering crowds, but you will receive a finisher’s medal and t-shirt for your efforts. Plus, a portion of race proceeds will support fitness programs and reforestation efforts in Michigan’s state parks.

The overall goal of the virtual 5K is to encourage participants to continue down the path of wellness by walking or running at least 10,000 steps every day. Plus it’s a great way to get motivated and moving in 2016.

Participants are encouraged to connect with others on the Shoe Year’s Day Virtual 5K Facebook page to share experiences. Selfies aren’t required, but definitely encouraged. Tag your Instagram photos with #MIShoeYear and #HeartMISnow.

Along with the DNR and Epic Races, the Michigan Department of Community Health, mParks, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan sponsors of this inaugural event.

Will you earn real swag for running a virtual race this month? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

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Photo credit: Dawn

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