September 12, 2017

A Look Back at the First ASPCA Virtual 5K

ASPCA Virtual 5k

In spring 2017, over 2,000 people (and nearly 1,400 pets) participated in the first-ever ASPCA Virtual 5K. This unique racing experience launched in March 2017, and was a brainchild of Team ASPCA as a part of their roster of year-round athletic events that encourage ASPCA members to get active while raising money for animals in need. Every participant received a race bib and finisher’s medal, and pet registration included a pet bandana and pet medal. We even offered ASPCA-branded incentives as participants met certain fundraising goals! Overall, the event raised $109,000 to help animals in need across the nation—an incredible amount.

However, the most innovative aspect of this race was that the Virtual 5K allowed participants to choose how and where they completed the “race,” and didn’t require that they run. They could dance, walk, swim or jog their way through the 3.1 miles, and they could do it anywhere they liked! This encouraged people to create their own experience and allowed one family to race together, despite being miles apart.

After losing his beloved family dog, Peaches, Jeremy M. relocated to New York to pursue a career with animals, leaving his family behind in Ohio. When he heard about the Virtual 5k, he signed up right away, and he knew that although they lived far away, this was something his family could all do together.

Jeremy and a fellow ASPCA Team member, Aidan, completed their 3.1 miles
Jeremy and a fellow Team ASPCA member, Aidan, completed their 3.1 miles in New York City’s Central Park.

“My mom is very active with her local animal protection league, and my dad, brother and sister are passionate about animal welfare too,” Jeremy tells us. “A simple group text was all it took to convince the family to sign up with me. It was a team effort, and my parents even ran with my mom’s adopted puppies!”

Runner in the Virtual 5k

Jeremy enjoyed his virtual experience so much that he’s decided to do it all over again! Team ASPCA recently launched the Virtual 5K fall season, and we can assure you that Jeremy’s name is at the top of the sign-up list. Jeremy’s inspiring story is just one of many that came from the Virtual 5K’s smash first season. The ASPCA encouraged all of the participants to share their photos and stories to encourage others to give this “race” a try.

Below are some of our favorite photos from the spring season!

Virtual 5k Runners

Virtual 5k runner and her two dogs

dog and cat participants in the Virtual 5k

Virtual 5k runner

dog and c

a dog resting with its Virtual 5k medal

Virtual 5k runner