MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WV News) — Elizabeth Oppe, founder and president of Get Moving!, said she wanted to do something, as she had spent all summer doing nothing. The Virtual Family Fun Run, held this weekend, came about as the result of their biggest event of the year’s forced cancelation.
Since 2014, Get Moving! had a yearly event called “Day of Play,” where West Virginia University football players who have gone on to play in the NFL are invited to come back and interact with children in the community.
“That’s been very successful; we’ve grown it from maybe 115 in 2014, and — we were supposed to have it March 14, but that’s the weekend everything got shut down — around 400 kids signed up,” Oppe said.
Only 48 hours before the event was to begin, the pandemic necessitated that it be canceled. Oppe said that it was heartbreaking. They had also just purchased all of the food for the event.
“The kids go home with a healthy snack or lunch, depending on what sponsors we have that year,” Oppe said. “I had eight boxes of popcorn that had 30 bags in it. I can’t remember when the schools shut down, but there were kids in certain areas of Mon County who needed food, so I went through United Way and gave the food so the kids could have it.”
The Virtual Family Fun Run came about after Oppe, a WVU professor, was discussing ideas with some of her students.
“In the summer, I don’t think all of us knew how long this was going to last, but I think now we’re realizing we’re in this for the long haul — we’ve got winter, and spring, and we might have summer again,” Oppe said. “We wanted to have a virtual fun run, and there were some over the summer I noticed.”
People register on their website, getmovingwv.org, and all that’s required to do is walk or run a mile.
“The big thing about the virtual family fun run is that they have all Halloween weekend to do it, and I hear it’s supposed to stop raining on Saturday,” Oppe said. “When they do that, either post on social media or email to us a picture or video of them finishing. Some families signed up, so they’re going to do it together.”
The photos and videos will include the hashtags #WVFamilyFunRun and #GetMovingWV as part of the long-term goal Get Moving! has of promoting healthy lifestyles in children.
There will also be a drawing where the winner will receive a bike from Positive Spin, a cycling shop in Morgantown.
Oppe is unsure of the future of events, due to the nature of the pandemic, and is hoping to know more by the start of next year.
“I’m not sure that we’ll be able to have the Day of Play in 2021,” Oppe said. “We’re looking into maybe doing another virtual run when the spring weather hits, or something of that nature. If we’re back to normal where we can get together in groups, I have a group of students trying to plan a summer camp.
Issues with scheduling of current NFL players may mean March is the best time the Day of Play can be arranged, but Oppe is weighing her options.
“The Day of Play we have in March — that could be something we could move to a later date,” Why we did it in March is because that’s when the NFL players have a little bit of time, when free agency allows a lot of them to come in.”