Instead of preparing to fly to the east coast for the 124th Boston Marathon, Palos Verdes Estates resident Vic Yang found himself competing virtually in the Aravaipa Strong race.
Yang began his 100-mile journey Friday morning, beginning at the Lunada Bay fountain before venturing throughout most of PVE and finishing Saturday afternoon back in Lunada Bay.
What was the most trying part of this journey for Yang, who began running 5Ks just 10 years ago, was that it was a virtual race.
"There's no one you're running with," said Yang, who participated in the L.A. Marathon before the novel coronavirus began canceling events worldwide. "Normally, people you're running against are a source of inspiration, but this was in solitude."
Yang mapped out the routes he would take on Tuesday April 14, and made sure to keep social distancing in mind.
"The toughest parts were two-fold. The first was during the day to avoid other foot traffic, so I had to pick routes to avoid people," Yang said. “The other was running at night. It was safe on the pathway, and then I switched to running toward Terranea before repeating the path through PVE on Palos Verdes Drive West."
While he finished the race in just over 26 1/2 hours, Yang initially was willing to help out other contestants after hearing about it from a friend in Huntsville, Alabama.
"I heard (about Aravaipa) from a running buddy that said he was running for a charity event to help the global fund in aid of this pandemic," Yang said. "Two minutes after mentioning making donations, he asked why I don't run in it."
What first drew Yang to running was a heart surgery his father had 12 years ago. While his father survived, Yang didn't want his life to go down the same path.
"I started to take care of myself, and as I started on that journey, my personality took over and I just wanted to get better at it," Yang said. "I went from running 5Ks to various marathons, competing in various 50-mile races to eventually tackling 100-mile journeys."
Yang, who has two children under the age of five, said of the race "it's about being able to challenge yourself to feel you've accomplished something."
"I want to become the inspiration in (my kids’) lives, to live a healthy life," he said.
Yang, who is the founder and CEO of Addaday, a Santa Monica-based company that provides a wide range of recovery products for athletes, is part of what he calls a "unique outdoor endurance community, a fraternity of people who share the same interest."
That interest, he said, is enjoying the outdoors, going to races and living the lifestyle of outdoor living.
What he learned during his 100-mile trek was something he called "surreal."
"Being able to show that you can still run a race by yourself, and share some level of social experience through the online platform is sort of rewarding," Yang said. "It's nice to have a temporary replacement. I've never run a virtual race before, but it's not that bad. You're not necessarily alone, and there's always someone running with you, whether it's in Alabama or New York."
Along the trek, Yang noted he had a bit of help from his wife, Lyndsey.
"She'd meet me at various spots and hand me fluids and food," Yang said. "Hydrating and eating is an intricate part during any endurance race."
What Yang was able to enjoy Friday evening was something many in Southern California are unable to enjoy during the quarantine.
"It was a perfect day," Yang said. "Typically, you don't want to run after the rain or in the heavy sun, but it was overcast and cleared up right at the finish."