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North Carolina Aquariums Run for the Planet goes virtual

The North Carolina Aquariums Run for the Planet is going virtual, but this year it is more than a race, it’s movement to make a difference for participants, the aquariums and the planet.

The aquariums located on Roanoke Island, in Kure Beach and Pine Knoll Shores and have been closed to the public for more than five months due to COVID-19. While daily animal care and virtual education programming has continued, large in-person events have not.

Typically, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher holds a 5K Race for the Planet in the spring. Postponing that event to the fall allowed the aquariums to reimagine the event, changing the name, expanding the distances and taking it virtual so more people can participate and help the aquariums.

Seasoned racers, first-time runners and even walkers can join in the fun on whatever course they want with a 1 mile, 5K, 10K or half-marathon (13.1 miles) distance. Anyone, anywhere can register, download the app and complete their race Sept. 12-20.

Runners and racers use the RaceJoy app to compete virtually, allowing for live leaderboards, turn-by-turn directions and the ability for friends and family to compete and show support from all over the world.

The aquariums’ goal for the race is to help participants take a step toward a healthy ocean and environment, organizers say.

“Like all races, this event will have prizes, but these awards will be for making a difference for our planet,” stated a North Carolina Aquariums press release. “Participants will receive ideas to help contribute to a better planet.”

Registration gives access to a private Facebook group where participants can post pictures of themselves making the world a little greener to compete for prizes.

Additionally, opting not to receive a T-shirt allows $10 of the registration fee to be donated to the aquariums, which helps the aquariums take greater action for the planet, reduce the carbon footprint of the event and expand programs caring for the environment. Without visitation since March 17, the aquariums have been operating with no attendance revenue, a major funding source.

Proceeds from this event will support the conservation and sustainability efforts of the three North Carolina Aquariums and Jennette’s Pier.

To register for the 2020 North Carolina Aquariums Run for the Planet, visit ncaquariums.com/NCA-Virtual-Run-for-the-Planet. The cost for this virtual event is $35; $15 for the one-mile distance.

The North Carolina Aquariums and Jennette’s Pier are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and are dedicated to the mission of “Inspiring appreciation and conservation of our aquatic environments.”

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is located in Manteo at 374 Airport Road, off U.S. 64. For more information, visit ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island or call 252-475-2300.

Jennette’s Pier is located on the Outer Banks at 7223 S Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head. For more information, visit ncaquariums.com/jennettes-pier or call 252-255-1501.

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