Virtual race nets Oxford food pantry donation

By Gene Buglewicz
OXFORD – In March 2020, all races for the Oxford Spring and Summer running season were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Oxford Running Club, which coordinates competitive races in the Oxford/Lafayette area, and at the recommendation of Mathew Zerangue, Assistant Grand Knight, Knights of Columbus Council 10901, St. John Oxford, opted to sponsor a partial “virtual marathon” where runners would run on their own but as a team of four other runners, and submit their times on a social media platform. Thus, the first annual Ox-Mar Marathon Relay was born.
Rather than having runners compete all at one time, and violate the social distancing guidelines, team runners would run as a five-person marathon relay. Each individual in a team would run 5.25 miles and individually report their times on-line. Each of the five – 5.25 mile loops started and ended on the Oxford Square and could be run at any time during a scheduled race period.
The Ox-Mar runners ran their individual legs of the race between May 9 and May 16. Times reported on-line and team scores were added together for the composite team Marathon times.
All eight teams completed the Marathon and posted their times. The First Ox-Mar Marathon Relay was completed despite the virus and rules consistent with social distancing. The result, without a crowd at the finish line or the fellowship of a group, long run, or even a trophy for the winners, a $350 check was presented to the Oxford Food Pantry on May 21.

OXFORD – Volunteers deliver carts full of fresh foods to recipients who wait in the parking lot of the Oxford Food Pantry. The carts are loaded into the client cars by the volunteers and many “God Bless You” and “Thank You’s” are heard as the food is loaded. (Photo by Gene Buglewicz)