Putting “Heart & Sole” into a Virtual Race

Group of runners from High Point Medical Center run together out from under archway.

Heart & Sole Race 2019, Courtesy of High Point Regional Health Foundation

In the last six months of 2020, our world has gone virtual out of necessity. From weddings to board room meetings, to classrooms, to church services, to birthday parties, we’ve found a socially distant or virtual way to conduct just about everything!

But what about a virtual 5K race? When the High Point Regional Health Foundation was faced with the cancelation of yet another event – their annual Heart & Sole 5K & Charity Walk – they decided to take “virtual events” to a new level.

“We’ve had to cancel a lot of our fundraising events at the hospital,” says Erin Gibson, the Development and Community Relations Officer at the High Point Regional Health Foundation. From their annual awards gala back in February to their popular Pink Ribbon Luncheon, the Foundation has made the difficult decision to put off a large portion of their fundraising opportunities for the sake of safety.

“Especially being a healthcare facility, we want to be the face of safety,” Erin explains. But when it came time to plan for the Heart & Sole race, the Foundation team started taking strides to ensure the race could still happen, safely and efficiently. And that’s when the “virtual” 5K was born.

“Instead of having 300 people gather at the race, potentially putting people at risk, individuals can run on their own,” Erin says. Rather than come together at one location and travel in groups around the same path, runners and walkers can participate wherever they are. Racers can simply map out their own route, run or walk at their own pace, and then submit their time via text or online. They are also able to complete the race at any time between October 24 and October 31.

Group of runners running wearing numbers out from under archway.

Group of runners at High Point Medical Center wear number bibs and smile before a race.

Heart & Sole Race 2019, Courtesy of High Point Regional Health Foundation


Group of runners run outside of High Point Medical Center. An American flag hangs over the runners.

Heart & Sole Race 2019, Courtesy of High Point Regional Health Foundation

In the past, the race has had up to 500 participants, and the Foundation is pleased to see that their registration is still tracking high, even with the virtual workaround.

“In fact, we’re actually seeing an increase in registration, especially for out-of-state participants,” Erin says. Despite the fact that no physical group will gather for the race, Erin and the Heart & Sole team are pleased to see that this creative solution may actually spread the reach of the Heart & Sole mission and increase donations.

The race, originally founded by the Reeves family, supports the Heart Strides Program. This program helps hundreds of patients each year in the Triad with rehabilitation treatment, after the patient has suffered a cardiac or pulmonary episode.

“Nearly everyone has had a family member suffer from either a cardiac or pulmonary issue,” Erin says, noting her father recently underwent heart surgery. “The Heart Strides Program is such a worthy cause because it hits close to home. Almost everyone is going to be impacted by cardiac and pulmonary issues.”

If you want to participate in the virtual Heart & Sole race, you can sign up on the Foundation’s website until October 23. (But register now! The price increase after September 30). Take part in seeing the patients in our community receive the best possible treatments – because even if we can’t all run together, we can all run for the same reason.

Keep discovering our High Points,

The HPD Team

Photos courtesy of High Point Regional Health Foundation. Photos taken prior to COVID-19.