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GCU Running Staying Active Amid Shelter-in-Place

Club running members smile
May 27, 2020

Lopes find virtual ways to stay in shape

By: Garrett Osterode/GCU Staff

I’m sure many of us have tried to stay active over these past few months with at-home workouts, walks around the neighborhood, or even swimming if you are lucky enough to have a pool in this desert heat.

For the Grand Canyon University Running Club, however, it is business as usual, albeit from the confines of their own home.

In early April, during the climax of the COVID-19 pandemic, Covid193 was created as an initiative for runners around the world to come together and compete virtually – all while “sheltering in place”.  Covid193 was created with the mindset that while runners are stuck at home, they still have the ability to get outside and run in neighborhoods and surrounding parks – all while feeling a sense of togetherness through the help of an online community.  The name of the initiative stems from the distance of 19.3 miles, which the combination of a half marathon (13.1 miles) and a 10k race (6.2 miles) would encompass. 

The GCU squad took this opportunity in stride, since many of the athletes were already training on their own to begin with. 

“Most people on the team love to work out as it is,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Kim Weeldreyer. “Having something like this to train for adds that extra gear and motivation.  It is simple, but it’s something to train for.”

Two Lopes participated in this race along with Weeldreyer.  GCU sophomore Jenna Miller completed the 10k, in the comforts of her community back in Michigan, and with the help of her parents running alongside her; while Tanner Bohlender completed the 5k in Arizona.

“Jenna is one of our strongest runners, so it was no surprise to see her pushing herself with the 10k,” said Weeldreyer. “It was awesome to see pictures of Tanner in his GCU Running gear once he completed his run. I am proud of them both.”

On top of staying active, the club has kept their tight bond throughout these trying times.  With the help of online conferencing tools, the group has been able to regularly communicate and challenge each other on a weekly basis.

“It can be very challenging to stay motivated by yourself,” said Weeldreyer. “Cabin fever is a real thing, so the athletes have been asking to meet, and wanting to engage in order to find that motivation.”

Some members, specifically Tyler Gerke, have taken this opportunity to build a platform within the sport, creating his own YouTube channel dedicated to journaling his runs.  The channel has grown to over 200 subscribers. 

“Running is an activity that helps keep you focused on your goals,” said Weeldreyer. “It is exciting to see our athletes continue to train and keep that habit on their own.”Interested in learning more or joining the GCU Running Club?Lopes’ Head Coach Kim Weeldreyer today!