Operation Inspiration Airdrop #2

A recap of the Operation Inspiration Virtual Race.

By on April 8, 2020 | Comments

Operation Inspiration Donation

Welcome to Operation Inspiration’s Airdrop #2! On Saturday, April 4, the global running community had an incredible day of celebrating health and wellness during the Operation Inspiration Virtual Race. The event had 1,715 participants–plus three registered pets(!)–from 48 countries, and together we raised more than $52,000 for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. We are so grateful you chose to spend your day in this way, and this article celebrates you!

Through Sunday, April 12, we’re fundraising for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund so that WHO can continue to lead the fight against COVID-19. Join us and the global running community in supporting WHO!

Be sure to also check out our Airdrop #1 article and video.

Operation Inspiration Airdrop #2 Video

Tonny Madsen Runs Into the Sunrise in Denmark

“Here in Denmark, we have avoided the most extreme COVID-19 restrictions so far. We are still allowed outside as long as we limit the number of people in a group to 10 and always try to keep the usual safe distance. ‘Together, but separated’ we say (roughly). This also means, that even though all fitness gyms closed very early in the process as well as most outside fitness/workout spots, we have been allowed to run and bike as we please.
“A few parks in Copenhagen have been restricted to pedestrians only, and in some very popular lakes in the center of the city, all running and walking is one-way only. In Denmark, running has been rather popular since the 1970s and we have a lot of road races as well as some decent ultramarathons. Of course, all of these have been canceled or postponed now. With the advent of COVID-19 and the limited access to other forms of fitness, running seems to be getting even more popular and with that also trail running.
“For this run, I chose to run by some popular lakes in ‘Hareskoven,’ at the north of Copenhagen and early in the morning. Sunrise is something I always love to see in the spring as it holds a promise of warmer days to come.”

Photo: Tonny Madsen

Sébastien Roca and Jon Arnott Run the ‘Wall’ in France

“I am Sébastien Roca from La Colle sur Loup, France, here after my workout in France. No worries, I won’t talk now about my cheese and wine experience on April 4. This message is really about running. :-) I joined your event thanks to my friend and running partner John [Arnott]. We live in the same village, so we usually train together, but we had not for almost a month. On April 4, we decided to join your event, and plan our workout at the same time–but with respect to the health measures taken in our area. We chose a steep road going to the highest area of the village. We call it the ‘Wall,’ and it has a 15% average climb.
“This day we wanted for one hour to ‘break the Wall’ together, without really being together. So we did it up and down for an hour, about 10 kilometers and 700 meters ascent. John started four minutes before me, so plenty of time to be ahead and to turn back down while I am still running up. We have the same pace and it worked perfectly! We had the chance to see each other for few seconds on the ascent and descent, enough time to have a quick joke. We did not take any risks regarding our health and we came back home with a big smile on our faces and obviously painful legs.”

Jeff Zenger Sets a 50-Mile PR in Indiana

“After an incredible previous three months of training, I’d been really looking forward to taking a shot at my 50-mile time at a low-key six-hour event, conveniently enough originally scheduled for today. I managed to pull this [alternative] together last minute, put a makeshift aid station together, and measured and marked the two-mile, paved loop course as my day-prior shakeout.
“The day went really well with nearly perfect weather. I felt really easy running through 20 miles or so before the effort started picking up a bit. After 50k (3:29:24, a 12-minute PR in itself!) it got difficult mentally, but physically I stayed solid until around 44. At that point I slowed down and was just trying to grind it out. Having never had a successful attempt at a fast 50 miler, my previous PR was about 7:53 en route to a 17:50 100-mile at the 2018 Indiana Trail 100 Mile. So this was technically a two-plus-hour PR! I’m very thankful for this opportunity to share the experience and find encouragement from the community.”

Photo courtesy of Jeff Zenger.

Sandy Stott Wonders About You in Maine

“Henry Thoreau (and many others) saw much in a day’s circle. It was, he was sure, a small version of a year… or a life. You set out after waking early into the favored part of the day, greeting the sun (or clouds and rain) with your best mind, the morning one. And then on through the day’s and life’s stages, looking, exploring; so much, Thoreau was sure, could be packed into a day. Just so on this April day here in Maine, with its early rising, some morning-mind time, and then some foot-motion.

“Time for the loop within the circle: it is iRunFar’s virtual race/workout/wonderabout, and I am registered. Out the door at 11:00 a.m., where, given great luck of place, I live on a trail that runs down to our forested Town Commons. Aboard that trail, I run to the Commons, where I begin looping. Here, in this stamp of conserved land, there’s no linear running, no A-to-Zing. I tick off my miles in loops. I am also at great distance from all of you, and so I am loopily solo for my hour. Snow’s gone, the duff-coated ground’s soft, and I fall into my familiar gait. A rivery sort of reverie comes on. I’m alert to roots and our glacial gift of stones, but for some time, I’m slightly elevated, skimming. Here, near the sea, I feel lifted… just enough… to look southwest (Thoreau’s favorite direction, by the way) and wonder how all of you are doing.”

Jasmin Nunige Runs With the World in Switzerland

“It was so much fun to compete today. I was running alone, but I knew that there were other runners over the whole world doing the same today! So I felt once again the power of the trail running community.”

Photo courtesy of Jasmin Nunige.

Greg Henneman’s Poetry in Motion in Ohio

“While much of the world sits frozen in fear,
I can still run.
While we wait for the full brunt of the storm to hit,
I can still run.
While thousands of families mourn the death of a loved one,
I can still run.
While busy city streets become empty,
I can still run.
While faces become covered in masks,
I can still run.
While many struggle to breathe,
I can still run.
While people carefully avoid each other on sidewalks,
I can still run.
While nature buds and blossoms with life,
I can still run.
While kids mark sidewalks with chalk-art of hope,
I can still run.
While ‘love cures and love wounds’
I can still run.
While community grows even among social distancing,
I can still run.
While people around the world move together,
I can still run.”

Image: Greg Henneman

More Moments From Around the World

The Tännler family in Bern, Switzerland.

Katie Dunleavy and David Nichols’s bibs from Pocono Lakes, Pennsylvania, USA.

Howie Stern in Silverton, Colorado, USA.

Danielle and Eric Miner in Fairfax, Virginia, USA.

Matt Olding in Moab, Utah, USA.

Johnny Barr in Allen, Texas, USA.

Kevin Mays in Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA.

Marissa and Jackson Harris in Houston, Texas, USA.

Sarah Lavender Smith’s bib in Telluride, Colorado, USA.

Tracy Pool’s bib in Windsor, California, USA–with some pupper moral support.

Hector Fuentes in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Suzanna Bon in Sonoma, California, USA.

Dreama and Addie Walton in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Call for Comments

Let’s send it! Got a link to a photo, video, Strava file, or more that can add to all the inspiration here? Leave a comment to add your dose of inspiration from Saturday’s Operation Inspiration Virtual Race or elsewhere.

Operation Inspiration’s Brand Support

Thanks so much to Operation Inspiration’s brand partners who’ve helped make this project possible!

Meghan Hicks

Meghan Hicks is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. She’s been running since she was 13 years old, and writing and editing about the sport for around 15 years. She served as iRunFar’s Managing Editor from 2013 through mid-2023, when she stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief. Aside from iRunFar, Meghan has worked in communications and education in several of America’s national parks, was a contributing editor for Trail Runner magazine, and served as a columnist at Marathon & Beyond. She’s the co-author of Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running with Bryon Powell. She won the 2013 Marathon des Sables, finished on the podium of the Hardrock 100 Mile in 2021, and has previously set fastest known times on the Nolan’s 14 mountain running route in 2016 and 2020. Based part-time in Moab, Utah and Silverton, Colorado, Meghan also enjoys reading, biking, backpacking, and watching sunsets.