Sports Winter Sports Winter Track & Field

Virtual Track and Field Relay Encourages Collaboration and Competitive Spirit

While the circumstances for this track and field season have not been ideal, Head Coach Rebecca Hession, alongside fellow coaches and captains, was able to create a virtual relay. By using the Racery app, Andover Indoor Track & Field is able to continue to form connections with each other and preserve the competitive nature of the regular season. 

According to Co-Captain Myra Bhathena ’22, Coach Hession proposed the idea of doing a virtual relay to the captains upon discovering the Racery app. After testing out the app, the four captains decided to organize a team virtual relay.

Bhathena said, “Coach Hession, our head coach, did a lot of behind the scenes work. She and Coach [Keri] Lambert also did a Racery race in the fall [and] in the summer [with] a bunch of coaches and friends, so that is how Coach Hession found out about this app. She brought the idea to [have a virtual relay] to the captains at the end of Fall Term, and we were totally on board. The four of us with Coach Hession did a five-day test for the platform, and we really liked it, so we organized it for the entire team.”

According to Alex Shieh ’23, there is a wide range of activities that the team can do to participate in the relay. These activities are, then, translated into a number of miles which are totaled to determine which team wins the relay.

Shieh said, “You can log activities that you do into the app. It can be running, but for example, you can do a vigorous activity or Taekwondo, and [Racery] translates it into a number of miles. We have four teams for the students and one team of coaches, [and] all the miles get added together for the teams, so it’s a competition.”

Alongside doing hobbies and performing everyday tasks, many athletes use the virtual relay to train for their main events so that they can be prepared for the next time they compete, according to Shieh and Bhathena.

Shieh said, “I’d say that I do vigorous physical activity for sure, and I also run a bit. The thing is, my main event is pole vault and I can’t do that at home, but I’m doing a bunch of stuff that will help me prepare for that when we can hopefully get back to campus.”

“This is really why we loved Racery so much—because there were so many options. Not all of us are distance runners and run crazy amounts of miles per week. I typically log my lifts three days a week, and I have a sprint workout for another day and a hurdle workout for the other two, and then a rest day,” added Bhathena. 

According to Bhathena, not only has the virtual relay been an integral part of staying in form throughout the season, but it has also been helpful in allowing teammates to connect through their passions.

Bhathena said, “Every day, I scroll through the activities that people have done, and it is really exciting to see how many kids are invested in this, and how fun it is because of that.” 

According to Shieh and Josh Lee ’24, the competitive nature of the virtual relay has helped the team find the motivation to stay fit and improve as athletes.

Shieh said, “[The virtual relay] definitely encourages me to get miles by vigorously working out. I’m competitive and it is always good to have people to compete against, because it pushes me to work harder.” 

“[The relay] does motivate me because there is a leaderboard, and you can see all the runners and how many miles they have run. I think right now my team is in 4th place, but now I’m motivated to get miles and help everyone out,” added Lee. 

With the help of Racery and the virtual relay, Andover Indoor Track & Field has been able to emulate the most critical aspects of the regular season and stay connected and competitive, even in a challenging remote setting.