The Esplanade Association has announced the winners in its Virtual 5K, and while participants were allowed to make the trek on any route worldwide, four of the six top-finishers opted to run the race in the park while another chose to run it on the opposite side of the Charles River instead.
The overall male winners of the race were David Laurent Niquille, who had a time of 16:42; Noah Schlesinger, who clocked in at 17:50; and Andrew Kuo, with a time of 19:38. All three runners completed the race on the Esplanade.
The overall female winners were Alexandra Selberg, who had a time of 19:18; Jenny Bishop, who clocked in at 20:05; and Morgan Prudden, with a time of 20:52. Selberg completed the race on the Esplanade while Prudden ran it on the Cambridge side of the Charles; Bishop chose a route in Walpole, Mass.
In all, 300 runners from three countries (the U.S., Brazil and India) and 13 states participated in the virtual race, which took place from June 1 to 7. Within that timeframe, participants were allowed run or walk 5K (3.1 miles) anywhere in the world at their own pace. They then shared their times using Strava or Garmin, among other apps, with EA, which in turn listed them on a leaderboard at Esplanade.org/Esplanade5K.
Participants in the race, which was presented in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, each purchased a commemorative bib for $20, with proceeds going to benefit the ongoing care and upkeep of the Esplanade. (EA also provided free bibs to firefighters, police officers and other service workers, as well as recently unemployed individuals who couldn’t afford to buy one otherwise).
All participants received a Virtual Race Bag, including coupons from Athletic Brewing and NOCA beverages, while the top three men and women overall will receive a prize pack from Athletic Brewing.
“We were thrilled with participation in the Virtual 5K,” said Michael Nichols, EA executive director. “There were certainly challenges in moving such an event virtual, but it was pretty cool to see people participating from around the country and the world, all in support of the Esplanade.”
But despite the success of the inaugural Virtual 5k, Nichols added, “We hope to be in the park again next year, and that’s the plan if all goes well.”