As we begin the New Year, many experts will agree that it is a positive physical, emotional and mental health choice to take on a resolution. Not only does a resolution provide a personal motivation, but it also requires you to disengage from your comfort zone, a challenge most of us need from time to time.

For runners, setting goals is nothing new. From earning a PR to qualifying for Boston, runners are trained to focus on the finish line. Yes, we enjoy the scenery as we go, but there is nothing quite like crossing the raised bar in the ground indicating that your chip time has been logged and grabbing that amazing bottle of water from a smiling volunteer.

There are countless personal and fitness-related resolutions that reverberate throughout the running community, however an innovative virtual challenge run program is rapidly gaining popularity amongst runners and it is clear to see why. Run The Edge, a Colorado-based company, has developed a unique virtual program that challenges runners to log mileage equivalent to that of the current year. So, for this New Year upon us, the challenge is to run 2,017 miles in the year of 2017, breaking down to 5.5 miles each day.

Run The Edge co-founders, Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano, began the virtual challenge program in 2015 after the debut of their best-selling book, Running The Edge.


 “We wanted to keep people moving all year, rather than making a resolution that fades away by February,” Catalano says. “This program is unlike other virtual races that you complete in a day. We create big challenges and break them into bite-sized goals that everyone can attain.”

Participants in the program have access to an online mileage tracker and milestone yearbook, as well as a member’s only Facebook page where the community can find encouragement and support. The online platform provides participants with weekly prize opportunities and a virtual community for inspiration and motivation.

Run the Year offers the option of running individually, with a partner or as part of a team. The team participation option allows runners of all skill levels to participate in this program since you can allocate different mileage goals to each team member.

“We have a lot of families take on the challenge as a team,” Catalano explains, “This is a challenge that can be enjoyed by runners of all skill and endurance levels.”

No organized race would be complete without the proper swag. Different registration levels are available ranging in cost from $25 to $55, depending on the gear you’d like to sport. Swag options include a stylish short-sleeved tech t-shirt, printable race bib and a shiny double-sided medal that serves as an inspirational piece during the challenge and flips to a finisher’s medal once the 2,017 mileage has been completed.

I am excited to take this venture on and will be reporting back on a quarterly basis of my progress through the Run the Year 2017 program. I challenge our fellow Chicago Athlete readers to join me on this expedition into the New Year of 2,017 miles in 2017. You can register now at https://runtheedge.com/runtheyear2017.

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Mandi began running in middle school and never stopped. As a high school and college cheerleader, running was the exact athletic counterpart to keep her fitness levels high. While attending The John Marshall Law School in 2007, Mandi ran her first Chicago Marathon, the final year it was partnered with title sponsor, LaSalle Bank. Mandi has continued to run several half marathon and shorter distance races and looks forward to running in the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. An Illinois licensed attorney, Mandi is currently the Executive Director of the Lake County Municipal League, a council of government representing 42 municipalities in Lake County. An avid weekend race warrior, Mandi tries to run 2-3 races each month from Milwaukee to Chicago and loves the opportunity to report about her experiences in Chicago Athlete

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