Why a virtual race option? Isn't it safe to run together outdoors in June?

We are excited to be back at Centennial Park in person this year! Keeping a virtual option simply allows us to remain flexible and make any necessary adjustments through race day, and allows those who have joined us virtually in the last couple of years to continue the tradition. Our goal has always been to make this a safe and fun event for the entire community, and we look forward to being together at Centennial Park on June 19!

How does a 'virtual run' work?

We look forward to seeing many of you in person this year at the park. For those who can't join us in-person, a virtual run (5K or 1 mile) works like any other run or walk---except you get to pick the course! It can be in your neighborhood, on a treadmill, or a local park or trail. Participate in small groups from anywhere!

Here are the easy steps to follow to get the most out of your virtual experience.

1. Register Onlinevisit the Registration tab.

2. Recruit Friends– we want to see how many areas of the country we can get people involved, but we need your help!

3. Train– you will have several weeks to train before race weekend. Good luck and get at it!

4. Pre-Race Communication– we will send you information as we get closer to race weekend to help you get ready and to learn how to submit your results.

5. Digital Bib– print your race bib to wear during your run or walk.

6. Race Week– it’s time! Use the RaceJoy app and get out there and run or walk your registered distance.

7. Submit Results– if you use RaceJoy your time will automatically upload to results. If not you will get a text or email to submit your results.

8. Submit Photos– from your run showing your bib.

9. Results Posted– virtual results will continue to update through June 26th!

When is the opening ceremony and official start of the race?

The pre-race, opening ceremony will take place from 8:30am to 9:00am on Sunday, June 19th. The Matzohball 5k and Howard County Family Wellness Day have always shared a special relationship. Every year in June, these events have provided a day long opportunity to promote wellness, encouraging families in our community, children in our schools and employees in our workplaces to make wellness a priority. This year, together, the ceremonies will be both live and virtual beginning at 8:30am with opening remarks by our county executive. You will learn a little about the charities benefiting from this year’s Matzohball 5k. This will be an opportunity to welcome all of our runners and walkers, provide everyone with instructions and tips and come together as a community. All registrants will receive sign-in instructions well in advance.

How do virtual participants keep track of their time?

When you register for the event, you can "opt-in" to receive either text or email notifications. This will be the first step to be able to submit your time after you complete your race, to publish your results on the race results page. Your time will be submitted (HH:MM::SS format) through a text or email, and will be automatically uploaded to the results. For personal time keeping, we suggest using one of the many fitness apps (Strava, MapMyRun, etc.) or an AppleWatch, FitBit, etc.

We encourage use of the RaceJoy app to further enhance your race experience. In this case, once you have set up the app and linked it to the race, your results will be automatically uploaded when you finish (see the Registration page for more details on setting up the RaceJoy app).

Will t-shirts be provided this year?

T-shirts will be available for an additional cost through a separate ordering form on the RunSignUp page (see here). Shirts must be pre-ordered and will be available for pickup at Feet First or at the park on race day during check-in. There may be a limited supply of shirts available for purchase on race day, but we cannot guarantee availability. For virtual participants, shirts will be mailed directly to you.

Are there any prizes, medals, etc?

For the in-person live event, there will be awards for male and female top finishers in each age category. Because of the nature of the virtual race, where runners are on different courses and times cannot be verified, we are unable to issue awards to those participants. However, all virtual participants receive a digital finisher certificate, and if you choose to submit your results, you can compare your times with those of other runners in your category. Whether you choose to submit your time or not, the goal is to have fun, stay fit, and help support our community!

Other questions? E-mail us at matzohballrun@gmail.com