By Melissa M. Stewart
When you are in the business of bringing people together—25,000 to be exact for their largest race—what do you do when the entire country is forced to stay far apart? J&A Racing race director Jerry Frostick canceled his company’s popular in-person running events and got creative.
“Our business model is based on celebrating fitness, community and camaraderie,” he says. “While COVID-19 has changed the way we can bring people together, our mission hasn’t changed. We are adapting as best we can to keep people safe while still celebrating running.”
Virginia Beach-based J&A has accomplished this by adding virtual events to their portfolio, a way to continue to receive revenue, give the running community they serve something to look forward to and motivate people to stay or become active during a stressful time. Participants sign up for virtual race events online, train like usual and complete the mileage on their own on race day or whenever. Signing up for the recent I Love Mom 5K on Mother’s Day included race swag, bib and medal; opportunities to post pictures; and uploading your results to a leaderboard. A portion of every registration fee was donated to First Responder’s Children’s Foundation to support first responder families enduring financial hardship due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Response to Change: “Community support and registration has been awesome. We had 1,500 for our Mother’s Day run and hope to have about the same for our future virtual races. We sincerely thank all of the runners for all the love and support they have shown J&A Racing at this time.
Biggest Challenges: “A complete loss of income. Having to cancel the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend the week before hurt us tremendously financially. We also had to transition the MSP Design Group Big Blue 5K to a virtual event, and we rescheduled the ADP Corporate 5K. We are a small staff (family) of 10 and have been forced to lay off two hardworking, caring individuals. This is when the reality of the situation hits home.”
Best Advice: “It is very easy to get down and negative, but that does absolutely no good. We will get through this. We are a strong community, and it is up to all of us to come together, support one another and to stay strong.”
Learn more about J&A Racing at JandARacing.com