Last week I finished the Ring of Kerry Challenge I discussed in the July 28 post, How virtual challenges are keeping me motivated and saving my sanity. It was 124 miles and I chose to do it all running. Adding walking, biking or swimming miles was allowed, but for this one, I chose just to include running miles.
We got all decked out in our matching InknBurn Celtic singlet and mask and headed out for our first challenge miles on Labor Day, September, September 7. When I posted an update to Facebook, my sister who resides in Tipperary told me she had been there that past weekend.
For those working on the challenge without relatives near by to share their real life photos, challenge organizers did a admirable job keeping everyone abreast of their progress, the view from the current location, and the significance of where we were. As was the case with the Illinois Endurance Challenge, street views allowed you to take in the (virtual) scenery.
Then when we reach certain milestones, we received a postcard via email that we could share on socially media or through email. Each post card email also contained several paragraphs describing the topography and local history. It proved to be an appreciable educational experience as well as a physical one.
You all know I love when runs benefit a charitable organization or some greater good. This challenge checked that box as well. Every time a participant met a completion milestone – 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100% – a tree was planted “to help restore healthy forests in locations around the world.” How cool is that?
I proceeded through my normal four-runs a week and completed the virtual course around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry on October 15. Roughly six weeks. I know some people who are still logging miles and I know a lot of people who would probably have completed the whole thing in a week.
I logged in my final miles and in less than 24-hours I had an email confirming my medal was in the mail. That’s why we do this, right?
The best part about these challenges is you can make them whatever you want them to be. I ran all my miles fairly slowly. At the same time I was also working on another challenge to run every street in town, but I’ll save that for another post.
If you’re looking for a challenge, I highly recommend going to The Conquerer Virtual Challenges and checking out your options. They are currently offering a dozen challenges of varying distances and locales. Challenges can be done independently or part of a team. You can choose your start date and deadline, which allows almost everyone to set a goal that is realistic.
Next up for us? Well, I’ve always wanted to do the Appalachian Trail. It’s 1968 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. This time of year, I’m glad I’m only attempting to do it virtually. We’re giving ourselves the full 78 weeks to do it. We could have done it as a team, but Kurt just reminded me that a few weeks ago, I said I wanted to do the full distance myself. Of course I did.