at the races Virtual Run to Celebrate the Great Lakes

Virtual Run to Celebrate the Great Lakes


The summer landscape is shaping up for runners to be devoid of actual physical races, which is a good thing. We do not want to add to the burden on the taxed Canadian healthcare system. Virtual events will be a runner’s summertime best friend.

A new event that we love—for cyclists, paddlers, walkers and, yes, runners like you and me—is the Great Lakes challenge, a combined series of events that allows participants to swim, paddle, cycle, walk or run along the Great Lakes. The first event takes participants around Lake Michigan. It’s 494 kilometres and benefits the mighty Swim Drink Fish.

“This summer more people than ever will be staying home. It is time to re-discover the amazing parks, beaches and paths that connect us to wilderness, woods and water in our own waterhoods,” says Mark Mattson, president of Swim Drink Fish Canada, who built the Swim Guide to help people find beaches with swimmable water. “We all know it is best for our health to get outdoors this summer, while maintaining social distance and safety. There are many ways to do that. We’re excited about this great series of events.”

Successive events will see participants also circumnavigating Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Superior, and Lake Ontario. Fun-loving summer thrill seekers and their families can participate in one, or attempt to complete all five events. It’s a good way to reconnect with nature and the natural Canadian landscape. Besides, it also has some of the country’s best bling.

“The race series is open to people of all ages and abilities. Families are encouraged to compete together and the Great Lakes Guide can help racers track their progress along the way,” Mattson says. “COVID-19 took away our ability to meet in person, but the Great Lakes Challenge virtual race series is encouraging people to get outside, stay connected with each other, and the Great Lakes. “

The Great Lakes Challenge by Virtual Run World has five races in total, one for each Great Lake. As of June 18, 2020, Virtual Run World has launched the Lake Huron race and the Lake Michigan event. The remaining races will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Each race is a different distance. All participants have the option to donate to Swim Drink Fish when they register for a Great Lakes Challenge event. 

To sign up for the Lake Michigan Virtual Challenge, please click here.