Three-hundred and forty-eight participants, comprising eighty-seven teams of four, took part in Bank Windhoek's Virtual Relay this past weekend. A first for Namibia, the charity-based event, which aims to encourage a healthy lifestyle and enhanced physical fitness to mitigate the risks of COVID-19, saw teams compete in three categories: women, men, and mixed groups, after registering via Webscorer.com.
Teams entered from Tsumeb, Aranos, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Henties Bay, Gobabis, Otjiwarongo, and Windhoek. Internationally, the Bank Windhoek Virtual Relay included teams from South Africa, Switzerland, and Australia. They ran or fast-walked 21.1 kilometres (km), 42.2km, or 63.3km, on the road, track, or a treadmill, at a time that was convenient for them and at their own pace.
The event's organiser, Farm Windhoek Fitness, said: "We had fun organising the Bank Windhoek Virtual Relay and participants similarly had the same experience due to its flexibility," said Farm Windhoek Fitness', Julie Mbaisa.
Participating teams had 24 hours to complete their distance: from noon midday on Saturday, 1 August until noon midday on Sunday, 2 August 2020, Namibian time. Each runner or fast walker had to use an activity tracker app to track their activity. The teams then had to submit a link or screenshot of their activity for distance and time verification.
The top winning team's results and times
On Wednesday, 5 August 2020, the Bank Windhoek Virtual Relay hosted the awards ceremony in Windhoek. With COVID-19 social distance measures in place, the team's sole representatives collected their awards on behalf of the rest of their teams.
Windhoek's Drama Queens won the female 21.1 km in a time of 2:00:43, while Team Resilience, also from Windhoek, won the 21.1km male category in a time of 1:37:12. Treasury, a team from Bank Windhoek's Treasury Department, walked away winners of the 21.1km mixed category, having completed their relay in 1:36:56.
Moms Over Miles, comprising team members from Swakopmund, Henties Bay, and Gobabis, won the 42.2km female category in 3:36:12. Farm Windhoek Fitness scooped up the top award in the male's 42.2km distance in 2:52:51. The mixed group award in the 42.2km went to Windhoek's Tanard Wasserpoel, who recorded a time of 3:42:27.
Hollers 1 from Windhoek, won the male 63.3km distance in a time of 5:13:14, while Walvis Bay's Corona Runners won the 63.3km mixed category in a time of 5:42:58. The only female team which entered the 63.3km did not finish the race.
Taking into account current COVID-19 restrictions, Mbaisa said that the Relay's setup complies with health regulations, new procedures, and social distancing. “It allows individuals to participate virtually. Thus, people in areas with stricter lockdown regulations such as South Africa and Walvis Bay were able to take part while still following all the relevant COVID-19 protocols and procedures."
The raise funds will go to the residents of Twaloloka who recently lost their homes in a devastating fire in Walvis Bay.