You can run across the entire state — all from home

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New distance challenges take marathoners across almost the entire span of Pennsylvania — but runners don’t have to leave their neighborhoods to participate. 

The Keystone State Virtual Challenge, hosted by the Bryn Mawr Racing Company, hopes to keep experienced runners occupied during the pandemic, as most races have already been canceled for the year. The challenge includes several spans:

Philadelphia to Pittsburgh — 298 miles

Philadelphia to Erie — 484 miles

The Northeast Extension — 203 miles

The Perimeter of Philadelphia — 76 miles 

However, runners track their own miles, on their own time, and log them each day with Keystone. When you register your latest miles, the website will show you where in Pennsylvania you would be along the route.

Runners have until Sept. 21 to log all their miles. 

In a time where physical races are canceled, and many of us spend a majority of our days stuck indoors, participant Dan Mazo said this race is a perfect way to get off the couch and get motivated.

“It's just a huge mental health booster to be able to burn off some energy and clear your head,” he said.

Susan McGarry ran all through high school and college, but when the Manayunk resident was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, she had to give it up.

“My foot tends to fracture where it's fused,” she said.

Fortunately, she’s since been able to return to running, so she decided to take on the 484-mile challenge. 

“It's been a good motivation to keep me moving,” she said. “I've been running anywhere from 80 to 90 miles a week during the challenge.”

Again, the race is virtual, but McGarry enjoys using it as an opportunity to explore the state online.

“I can see exactly on the map where I am, so I zoom in and check out the town, pretend I'm really there,” she added.

McGarry runs on either the street or the treadmill each day — a feat she’s amazed by.

“To just keep pushing myself running the kind of miles that I'm running now, I've never done in my life,” she said, “so it's kind of fun to have this race keep me motivated to (keep) moving.”

Registration for all races ends Sept. 5. Each challenge is $55.