The inaugural One Slam virtual event was by far, the longest event we've ever staged. Lasting from 1st February until 31st March, runners had two months / 59 days to cover the equivalent of one of the following four distances. The Slams each take place within a calendar year ordinarily of course:
We thought running this much over some of the coldest, darkest months of the year would probably only attract a hardcore of runners, focused on challenging themselves in all weather, perhaps with a hopeful eye on the in-person race season starting at Easter. But, in a fashion we have come to expect from our incredible community, over 800 runners stepped up to give one of the four distances a go.
Approaches to this challenge were as broad as could be imagined.
Immediately, some runners went out to get it done in as short a time frame as possible. Our interactive map gave runners their position relative to the in person events, in their traditional calendar year. Pretty quickly some of the 600 milers were into event numbers four, five and six racing through 150+ mile weeks.
One of the major challenges for most at this stage however, was that in England where the majority of our runners are based, lock down restrictions meant that many could only train once per day. So if a treadmill wasn't available, there was a commitment to get some very long daily outings in to stay 'in touch' with the average daily distance target.
We also saw a lot of chopping and changing of distances early on. There was quite a bit of burn out during weeks two and three as the reality of the length of the task in hand began to hit home. But most runners adapted their daily routine to factor in the miles. Some went for the rinse repeat strategy of running the same distance or even the same route every day of the challenge. But many were able to still get the variety in their training. Of course, most eventually ended up with the most consistent period of running of their entire lives - somewhat of a revelation as to what they could perhaps achieve in the future.
In the end, the completion rate was extremely high. Some runners did drop down in distance, a few also went up - but more than anything the community interaction particularly during the closing stages as many runners took their events 'right to the wire', was the best part of it all.
In the process of this event, £3,000 was donated across MIND and NHS Charities together from the entry fees. Over 100 trees were planted through Trees not Trees via runners foregoing their awards.
A huge thank you to all of the runners that committed themselves to running with us over such a tough period in all of our lives.