COVID-19 - Plunket Pivots to a Virtual Run before lockdown
The annual Nationwide Plunket Run was in full flight with two of it’s five events having taken place when COVID-19 arrived to throw a spanner in the works. Faced with cancelling the remainder of their events, the Plunket team quickly adapted the final weekend of physical runs into a weekend of Virtual Runs, and opened it up to the whole country to be involved. Based on the success of this weekend, they then developed a series of Virtual Fun Runs held each weekend in April. These runs each had a specific theme – whether it was to acknowledge the support of a long standing partner – ie “Hugs for Huggies”, or the situation we were facing as a country – in our “Everyday Super Heroes” – where we acknowledged all the essential workers.
The purpose of all Plunket Events is to raise much needed funds to support families in the community. As the situation evolved with Covid-19, as too Plunket had to evolve in how it delivered its services, so therefore additional revenue needed to be raised to support the delivery of its essential services. So finding a way to continue to raise this revenue was more important that ever.
“When it was confirmed that the government was limiting the number of people that could be involved in mass gatherings, we had to move pretty quickly to assess the feasibility of continuing with our physical runs. As a health organisation, it was imperative that we put the health of the community at the forefront of any decision on whether we should go ahead with these in a physical sense” explained Charlotte Wood - National Events Manager for Plunket.
“However an email from our registration provider eventplus.net twigged our thinking, and we saw an opportunity to continue to raise funds, and maintain engagement with our community. Commented Wood. “Two days into level 2, with pretty a clear indication that we would be moving up the levels, we had a virtual team meeting making the call to switch our existing registration and participants to the virtual space.”
Not knowing if this was something that would engage our community, Plunket put the call out to their runners. “Our participants were incredibly positive and so supportive with the announcement to go virtual. We had no withdrawals or request for refunds which meant that every cent from the registration fees went towards keeping vital Plunket services running in our communities. ” said Wood
“We even got requests to extend the original virtual run to other cities, and so were easily able to adapt the run to include the whole country, rather than the specific locations the physical runs were due to take place”.
Plunket used their existing registration, with the virtual features switched on. “It was a simple and seamless process moving the registrations for our physical runs in designated cities, to Virtual Nationwide Runs.”
“We wanted a way to balance the need for social distancing as we navigated COVID-19 with the need for physical activity and community building. With the success of the first Virtual Fun Run weekend, the call was made, once we were in level 4, to extend the runs, and create the series of Fun Runs over the month of April.”
All in keeping with government regulations and health guidelines Plunket led the way helping families and whanau stay fit and connected, all while helping raise funds to continue to deliver Plunkets’ services.
“Wherever people were and whoever they were with in their “bubbles” they could choose a distance and a time over the weekend that suited them. They could then log back in and record their time and log a photo and socialise. Over the series this gave them the opportunity to better their time, if that was what made up their motivation!” Otherwise they were getting the full benefit of the good endorphins while feeling engaged with a wider community.”
All participants received a virtual race day pack prior to the weekend, which included training tips, and ideas for how to track their runs, as well as inspirational playlists, and activities for the family themed to each weekend. This lead to our events team being busier than ever over this time, but the benefit we felt it offered the community and the opportunity to continue to raise much needed funds, during this Virtual Fun Run Series has led to a new way of thinking when it comes to delivering our events in the future.”
Worried about your family and COVID-19? Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or call, text or email your Plunket Nurse.
Click here to review the Virtual Features