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During the Oct 16th – 18th weekend, runners from all over Europe, from all ages and backgrounds, took part in the Virtual Run for Europe, a two-day race to raise money for five charities and express solidarity with their fellow EU citizens during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This race was organized by QED & 20km à l’envers.
1. 600+ participants across Europe
2. 348 selfies posted during the weekend race
3. 5,327.71 km ran for Europe
4. 1,529 high-fives given between runners on the atlasGO app
5. 60 teams created
6. 3,200 euros raised for 5 non-profits
Originally, the project had long been in the mind of the QED Managing Director & Founding Partner Martin Sjöberg, a European expat and a fan of running. QED’s main activity is the organization of conferences and debates in European public affairs. This was, therefore, an opportunity to launch a completely different kind of event to celebrate Europe and raise money for different nonprofits.
Run for Europe was going to be the first-ever edition. The first idea was to hold a physical edition in the streets of Brussels and the European district. However, this idea was quickly ruled out due to permit and COVID-19 concerns.
In a desire to maintain this event, QED switched to a virtual race format and managed to keep all sponsors on board. The race became virtual thanks to the atlasGO app and enabled runners to race independently to respect social distancing and practice safe sporting activities.
“atlasGO allowed us to shift swiftly from a physical to a virtual race and save our project. The team has supported us and helped us make this event a great success! Great collaboration throughout the whole process, thank you atlasGO team!” Elise Kurgan – Event Coordinator at QED
The Virtual Run for Europe offered runners an alternative solution to surpass themselves and live an extraordinary virtual experience, but it also had a positive purpose, as runners would run while supporting a cause that is close to their heart!
For the associations, the goal was to have several onboard, to represent different causes. These represented those that normally create a team at the famous 20km of Brussels. An event was canceled due to the pandemic where runners from all over Belgium race for a cause.
On the “virtual” event day, runners could choose between a personal goal of 5, 10, or 20 km and choose their preferred route from anywhere within Belgium or Europe. The runners took selfies on the app, shared their results, and exchanged them with the community of European runners. Run for Europe is a celebration of the European spirit. Together, without borders. This race reflects the diversity, beauty, and solidarity of Europe.
“The Run for Europe was a unique opportunity to show that even in difficult times, we are stronger together,” Martin Sjöberg, Managing Director, QED, says. We hope to create many more of these uniting virtual events, especially during this difficult time. Are you interested in hosting your own virtual run? Or go beyond running as winter comes? Reach out to us.
“It was important for us to partner up with several charities so that each runner can decide the cause that they want to support. This way, our virtual race is not only a sportive challenge with a strong message, but we also make a positive impact,” Elise Kurgan, organizer of the event, explains.
“Once registered, runners receive a link to the atlasGO app, where they can track their race. With no route defined, participants are able to register their activity anywhere in Belgium or Europe. It’s an opportunity to share good jogging spots and discover new ones! The application also allows participants to post selfies, create teams, compare times, … Everything was planned for an interactive racing experience.”
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