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Two local clubs for avid runners—the Johnstown Running Club and White Chocolate Running—are teaming up to raise money for the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies’ new emergency fund.

Runners who are participating in White Chocolate’s virtual 5K, available through both group’s Facebook pages, are asked to make a donation to CFA’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund.

Here’s how a virtual 5K works: Each week, White Chocolate posts a new 5K course on Tuesday or Wednesday. Participants have from 7 a.m. Thursday until 7 p.m. Sunday to complete the course. Participants can also post their stats—pace, miles, and finish time—on the White Chocolate Running Facebook Page. Results will be organized so runners can check their status and personal progress over the coming weeks.

Stephanie Daniels, president of Johnstown Running Club, said the two groups decided it was important for running enthusiasts to have something to work toward, especially at a time when races are canceled.

“We are hoping to continue to encourage and motivate people to reach their fitness goals and get outdoors in a safe, constructive way,” Daniels said. “Our runners are passionate about this sport, and these races and goals are incredibly important to us. This gives us another way to encourage each other and also help our neighbors who may be struggling right now.”

Turning the virtual runs into a fundraising opportunity will allow the two groups to show their love and support for each other and for the community at the same time, she said.

White Chocolate member Brian Bell said the move will help runners keep up with the personal progress they’ve made.

“We wanted runners/walkers of all skill levels to enjoy what we do during these troubling times,” he said. “With the races being postponed and social distancing becoming more important, running in small groups or alone became imminent. White Chocolate is a competitive group of runners, but this isn’t about winning. In just the first week, we’ve seen many people out that probably wouldn’t have been if not for the series. A 5K (3.1 miles) is a perfect distance for competitive and non-competitive runners.

“It’s a feeling of accomplishment to some and a progress report to many others. When the running community can once again gather for weekly races across the area, hopefully our series will have helped maintain and/or prepare athletes to participate.”

CLICK HERE to visit the JRC’s Facebook page or HERE to visit White Chocolate on Facebook.

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