Virtual Connections, an online meetup community for people with aphasia, offers many engaging sessions on a regular basis. These consistent meetups have fostered a wonderful sense of community for many groups, including the Speaking in Stride Aphasia Running Club. This virtual running club has been meeting bi-monthly for over a year and welcomes runners and walkers of all levels. And this close-knit group is happy to celebrate its first virtual race together.
Virtual races have increased in popularity in recent years, so the club was able to choose from an array of races. After deliberating, the club decided on two finalists. The first option was a 4-mile virtual race called “Running Is My Happy Hour,” in which proceeds from the race registration went toward a charity organization called Girls On The Run. This organization empowers school-aged girls to start running as a way to strengthen their social and emotional well-being. The second race option was a 5K (3.1 miles) called “Running for the Rescues 5K”. The proceeds from this race supported the Connecticut Humane Society, which provides supportive services, food, and shelter to over 10,000 dogs and cats per year.
A total of eight running club members participated in the virtual race — seven people with aphasia and Allie, the Virtual Connections Manager and SLP. Mark, Allie, and Manuel completed the “Running Is My Happy Hour” 4-mile race from their homes in Virginia and Illinois. Brooke, John Y., Jordan, John F., and Rick completed the “Running for the Rescues” 5K from their homes in Idaho, New Mexico, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Virginia. And on June 14, all race finishers met on Virtual Connections to chat about their experiences.
During the June running club session, members shared what a fun challenge this virtual race was for them. One member shared that she broke the 5K race down and walked one mile per day for three days. Another member shared that this was the first race he had completed since his stroke. A third member typed into the chat, “So proud of me.” It quickly became clear that this race was about so much more than running and walking. This virtual race demonstrated the resilience and courage of people with aphasia, and the difference a community can make, however small. Congratulations to Mark, Manuel, Brooke, John Y., Jordan, John F., and Rick!
If you’re interested in joining the Speaking in Stride Aphasia Running Club or one of our many other aphasia conversation groups, click below to view all upcoming Virtual Connections sessions.
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