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The Strava Club

The Strava Club

5:21 PM on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Bringing the Boston Marathon to the streets

You don't need us to tell you that the Boston Marathon looked a little different this year – the streets of Boston were replaced by the roads and trails of people's neighborhoods as the 26.2-mile race went virtual. But the spirit of Boston was as strong as ever. Yong Chen and his fellow WIND running club members not only took the cancellation in their stride, but they ran the marathon while mapping out the Boston Athletic Association's (B.A.A) famous unicorn emblem.

"When the B.A.A. announced the first virtual event in its 124-year history, I didn’t hesitate to register because I think this is also something special. Besides, what else can you do about running events in a year like 2020?" says Yong.

Yong was cheering some of his fellow WIND runners in their virtual race – which he planned to complete the next week – when he realized that the streets were hiding the signature emblem in their layout. "I spotted a couple of streets nearby formed a perfect 'spike' shape. The B.A.A.’s signature unicorn emblem is famous among marathon runners around the world. When I saw this spike shape on Google Maps, the idea of trying to draw a route resembling the Boston Marathon Spike came to my mind immediately," said Yong. "Thanks to the street's topology in Vancouver west, I was able to draw the route successfully within less than 10 minutes after the idea came into my mind. The length of the unicorn route with words 'Boston 2020' included is 22 miles, which is perfect as we only need to finish the remaining 4.2 miles on the track."

A group of 9 WIND runners completed the run, managing an impressive average pace of 9 minutes 22 seconds per mile, but it was the GPS artwork they mapped out that really caught people's attention.

"The artwork we accomplished is so perfect. We evoked quite an excitement in the running community," reflects Yong. "Runners around the globe are contributing to this year’s virtual races in many different ways. I am glad that I was able to do something as well."

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