Are you ready for part two of the Chaski Challenge? This past June, elite runners from around the world brought down eight treadmill world records in the virtual live broadcast Chaski Challenge “Festival of Records.” The event also featured a free mass-participation virtual race.
This week ending September 13th, the Chaski Endurance Collective is launching part two of the Chaski Challenge with The Athletic Brewing Chaski Marathon and Relay. The event features a free virtual relay open race and a live broadcast professional race on Saturday, September, 12, with all proceeds benefiting rare cancer research in partnership with the Brave Like Gabe Foundation.
The professional race is stacked with some of the world’s top road and trail runners, including Desiree Linden, Jared Ward, and USATF 1/2 Marathon Trail Champion Ashley Brasovan. The open race will award more than $8,000 in prizes from sponsors including Hoka One One, Squirrels Nut Butter, and Athletic Brewing. Participants can choose to run a marathon on their own, or sign up as a team and run 12, 8 or 6.2-mile legs.
Explaining his inspiration for the race, event director Tyler Andrews said, “Our goal was to build off of what we did in June. That event went super well and was the biggest thing in running in June. We wanted to create something to bridge the gap between the participatory and elite sides of the sport and that was also our aim for this marathon relay.”
The team aspect of the virtual relay is one of the most interesting features of this event. Andrews said, “The COVID-19 pandemic may cause separation and isolation, but this relay is a way to bring people together. One of the teams to highlight is JUSARA. It’s three elite runners from Japan, the United States, and the Republic of South Africa (RSA). This tricontinental team will all be competing together on the same team, yet they are running across the world. It’s a cool way to compete against athletes from around the world, while respecting the state this world is in right now and not traveling, bringing together mass crowds, and putting people in danger.”
Tune into the live broadcast this Saturday and see features in the coverage as described by Andrews.
“We tried to create a broadcast that’s easy to follow. It can be hard to be a fan of road, ultra, track or trail running because it’s often difficult to follow the sport. Broadcasts are not always clear and it can be hard to understand what’s going on in a race if you’re new to the sport. Our web developer designed a system that uses avatars to show where runners are at while they’re racing relative to each other and how fast they’re going. We’ve created hype videos that we’ll be releasing the week before the race and during the live broadcast. We’ll also have commentary during the broadcast the entire time, giving fans not just an idea of the paces these athletes are running, but who they are, where they’re running, what it’s like there, etc.”
Leading up to this event I interviewed professional Hoka One One athlete and World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship veteran, Ashley Brasovan (pictured above), who shared her thoughts on the challenge and explained why she’s participating in it.
[TAYTE] How did you decide to join this challenge and what makes it a unique virtual event?
[ASHLEY] The thought of doing a virtual relay sounded fun and different from a workout perspective. I also get to be on a team with my former Duke teammate so it’s a great way to “reconnect” with friends!
[TAYTE] What do you like about being part of a relay team?
[ASHLEY] I love being part of a team environment and think this is also a really unique concept. It’s fun to do something that feels very much like college cross country again and that you are racing for just more than yourself.
[TAYTE] What about this challenge makes it attractive to trail runners like yourself?
[ASHELY] As we get into winter training, it’s good to start re-focusing on speed – especially if you have been running super technical trails all summer. This road relay will definitely give my body a break from the trails and provide a little bit of training diversity!
Are you interested in signing up for the relay or watching the live broadcast? Learn more about the Chaski Endurance Collective by visiting their website.