Meet the Gardner Family at the Finish Line – NRG Virtual 10K

Virtual races give us a fun way to stay active, but the energy from running with the crowd is missing. You may feel like you are alone during your “race” trying to push yourself for a good time with no cheering friends, family, and volunteers. The race crowd is out here and the Gardner family wants to share their race with you and provide some support at our virtual finish line.

Meet Brian, Jessica, and their daughter Emma pictured here at the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Brian ran the 50K and Jessica and Emma completed the 10K. Emma’s first 10K! “I love seeing my daughter finish races like this. Especially if she was having fun during it,” shared Brian. Let’s have a finish line chat with the Gardner family!

Where you excited or nervous about completing the New River Gorge Virtual 10K?

Emma: I was worried because I haven’t done one since October (my first), but since I got to do it with my dad, I felt better about doing it.

Jessica: A little of both. I was excited to try the elevation on the actual course, but I was nervous too, because I’ve been dealing with an injury since January. I was happy to at least complete the virtual event in the walking category. I would have loved to run it, but you can’t plan for the future sometimes. Life has a way of making plans FOR you. I know we’re all a little less motivated with races being canceled, and not having a goal, but we just need to get out there. Do something! Get moving!

Brian: Excited, and can’t wait until next year to run the actual course; 2021 New River Gorge Rim to Rim 10K.

Did this give you an event to look forward to do together?

Jessica: Yes! We planned to run it as a family, whatever that would have looked like; fast, slow, we were doing it together. Brian and I both decided to sign up, and Emma usually gets pulled in to our events. This was her 2nd 10k, and only my 3rd, ever!

If you had just finished at the finish line in-person, what would you want to share with other racers?

Emma: I would have been happy to finish and earn my medal, and I would have told other runners “good job” as they finished, and told the volunteers thank you, too.

Jessica: I would encourage and cheer on other runners who were participating, and I would encourage other runners to give it a try themselves. If I can push through injury, not being able to train, and my 10 year can do it, anyone can. It only takes one foot at a time. Plus, it’s awesome to see people push past their limits, or what they thought their limits were.

What running activities and events are you looking forward to this fall?

Emma: Maybe do some 5k’s, like the Turkey Trot, and maybe pace my dad in some of his 100 mile race. My goal is to get better at longer distances, so I can join cross country in middle school.

Jessica: I’m hoping to be in a better place physically, and just keep getting stronger and faster.  I still have plans to PR in a half marathon, so I’ll work towards that.  I would like to partake in the EQT 10 Miler in Pittsburgh if it happens, and hopefully our race for work goes off in September. I’m a race director for a local company hosting the Run for Autism Labor Day Half Marathon and it benefits a great charity.  It would be a bummer if we can’t have it for some reason. 

Brian: Although most races are canceled, I am hoping a few later in the year are still on.  I plan on running the Grindstone 100 in September. 

We hope everyone walking and running in the New River Gorge Virtual 10K can have a sense of community and feel supported in their race efforts. Each racer comes to the event from a unique perspective. Sharing your perspective can be inspiring and motivating for other racers. Join us at the virtual finish line on our Facebook event page! 

Find additional Active Southern West Virginia hosted races and free programs.

Bridge Day 5K RUN, October 17th 2020

2021 New River Gorge Rim to Rim 10K, May 15th 2021

Stay safe and active!