Paradise Running Club to tackle the Big Land

By Chris Lewis | April 22, 2021

The Paradise Running Club is gearing up for another virtual challenge to keep people active this year.

During the middle of 2020, the Club hosted an event called the Virtual 7o9(00)k Challenge. The challenge technically took place online, but still got people out and about in a safe manner during a time when many found themselves isolating inside their homes.

The challenge encouraged people to go out and walk, run, or jog to accumulate the same number of kilometres it would take to travel from the Marine Atlantic Terminal in Port Aux Basque all the way to the Terry Fox Memorial on Water Street in St. John’s: 904.5-kilometres.

The challenge went on for about four months between May and September and saw some 1,100 participants and thousands of dollars raised for local charities. As a follow-up to last year’s success, the Club is once again hoping to host a similar challenge.

This challenge, called Big Land 1140, aims to instead take participants a little further north, through Labrador, spanning about 1,142-kilometres to represent a trek starting on the coast at Blanc Sablon and ending close to the Quebec border near Labrador City and Fremont.

According to Club president Andrew Tobin, the event has already garnered the attention of about 500 participants, with money already being raised and put together for a $500 donation to the CBS/Paradise Food Bank.

“Last year we did a Newfoundland portion, so this year we wanted to go through Labrador instead,” Tobin said.

Those who get involved log their progress on an app called MyVirtualMission, where they will have access to a live leaderboard to check their results with others to see where they stand.

“It’ll show you where you are in relation to the map of Labrador, too,” Tobin added. “You can go in and look on Google Street view and see where you are along the way – or, where you would be.”

Similarly, he said, participants can interact with one another via social media group to keep up to date with how everyone else is faring.

Tobin said the club had to iron out some details this time around given it attracted way more participants than expected last time.

“We announced it, and the challenge began in such a short amount of time,” Tobin said. “This year, we announced it about a month ago. So, people have lots of time to get involved, and that gives us lots of time to get rid of any technical issues before the actual event.”

The Big Land 1140 Virtual Challenge is open for registration until Friday, April 30 and officially gets underway the next day.

The event will span 150 days, ending on Monday, Sept. 27.

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