The virtual run will see participants complete a 5k, 10k, or Hospital Mile anywhere they choose; as long as it’s on the big day, September 19th.

The original date of the event was May 2nd, which was pushed back due to COVID-19.

With the run going virtual, Amylee Laforest, West Nipissing General Hospital Foundation officer, says she hopes people will still come out and support the event.

“It’s tough. With COVID, we wanted to avoid mass gatherings… and our board decided it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s unfortunate, the community aspect of the event is something that people love.”

The event usually sees hundreds of runners, both young and old, from across the community gather at the hospital to participate.

“It’s hard to see the change, but everyone understands and is still willing. What’s great about the virtual run is people can do it however and wherever they want. Instead of our mapped out tracks, they can run their races in trails, fields, roads, or even treadmills.” said Laforest.

The event doubles as a fundraiser, and money is raised through both registration fees and as well as pledges collected from the participants.

“Another change we’ve had this year is online registration through raceroster.com It enables participants to share their profile with all their friends through social media, or e-mail and people can make a direct donation through there as well,” added Laforest.

“’Virtual Run4Health’ is a first for WNGH however given the pandemic and the need to ensure social distancing and safety for all participants we are going ‘virtual’.” Said WNGH CEO Cynthia Desormiers.” Although this will be different from our walks in the past, I still believe it will be exciting and new. With being virtual, participants [can pick a time] that works for them personally, which we hope may be more accommodating and increase participation.

Desormiers ads that going virtual is adhering to Public Health measures.

“We also recognize it will be more accommodating. This pandemic has caused many firsts this year and we are becoming innovative with our foundation events. The proceeds from this year’s Virtual Run4Health will be put towards our new CT scanner which is currently being built and our CT scanner room is under renovations. Our CT scanner is set for installation and operation in early fall 2020. On behalf of the WNGH foundation and the hospital I want to thank all the participants and sponsors for their support in our 2020 ‘Virtual Run4Health’.”