By Trinity Martin
The spread of coronavirus continues to impact some of the running world’s favorite events including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ (FCA) annual Firefly Super Spring Triathlon. But this year, FCA leaders have created a virtual 5K that will still give athletes the opportunity to run.
“Typically FCA hosts our annual Firefly Super Sprint Triathlon, but due to COVID and other local restrictions we were unable to carry through with this event,” said Jessi Fincher, FCA Metro Director for Lake Oconee area, Lake Sinclair area, and Walton County area said. “So, we decided we would provide an opportunity to engage the community in a virtual 5k race.”
The race will take place on the participant’s own time from July 22-26. “It’s all done by yourself,” Zach Massey, FCA Lake Oconee area board member said.
Once participants have run the race, they will submit their time through a link on the FCA website. There is also an option to include a photo of their route.
“We understand that there are a lot of kids and older people who aren’t capable of that,” Massey said, but the hope is that as many people as possible will include a photo from a running app or device that shows their time.
Once the days to run are finished, FCA will take all the submitted times, and find the top three for each age group from the Men and Women division. Winners will be posted to the website and social media, and will also receive an award through the mail.
“We have place medals for 48 places,” Fincher said.
FCA hopes to obtain means for their ministry fund, that helps to buy Bibles and other resources for students.
“The Firefly Tri is the biggest fundraiser they have every year,” Morgan County High School FCA leader, Anna Nelson, said. “This is the biggest thing they’re going to have now that that’s gone.” Without the triathlon, FCA is trying to compensate with this virtual version of the race. “We hope to bring in some local funding to help kickoff this new season through the virtual 5k,” Fincher added.
But, the overall mission of the race goes deeper than funds. “Our vision [is to] see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes,” Fincher said. “We hope to encourage, equip, and empower coaches and athletes. We have many volunteers and churches who serve alongside us to invest together as a community and ministry.”
FCA’s goal is to have around 150 people signed up. “Typically we have 150 people for the Firefly Triathlon Super Sprint. We hope we can reach that same number or more through this event,” Fincher said.
The registration fee is $25, and includes a T-shirt that can be picked up on July 24, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the FCA office located at 311 N Main Street in Madison, or contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a delivery.
FCA has adapted to the standards COVID-19 has created. The virtual 5k gives athletes and any other person the opportunity to get out of their house and be a part of something.
“This organization has helped for years, and although we can’t meet in person to fellowship, we are finding other ways to do it safely,” said Nelson. “COVID has been able to shut down so much in our world, but it will never be able to overcome the power of God and His word.”