Virtual Selfie Run

H-Town super runner talks virtual race, shares tips on running in the heat

H-Town super runner talks virtual race, shares tips on beating heat

Wings for Life World Run
Wings for Life World Run starts in Houston at 6 am Sunday with 34 cities worldwide participating. Photo by Marv Watson for Wings for Life World Run

Avid runners in the Houston community have likely heard Calum “Cal” Neff's name before. Neff has a number of running accolades credited to his name. To name just a few, he is the Guinness World Record Holder for Fastest Half Marathon pushing a stroller (which he dominated in Katy for a time of 1:11:27), he came in 23rd overall in the 2016 Houston Marathon, and he won the 2014 North American Wings for Life World Run.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Wings for Life World Run (WFLWR), it is a global run taking place at the exact same time in 34 locations this year across the world. The purpose is to raise funds for research in finding a cure for spinal cord injuries.

As Neff gears up with hopes of adding another title or personal record to his stat card, he is encouraging other runners, of all levels, to join him for the Wings for Life World Run Selfie Run this Sunday, May 8th. Houston’s official timeslot for this virtual groundbreaking Selfie Run is 6 am –  plenty of time for Mother’s Day celebrations and brunch afterwards!

Runners can sign up for free, and run anywhere at their own pace. The Selfie Run, which uses the all-new Wings for Life World Run app, is perfect if you want to train for the big day, set your own course, race at exactly the same time as everyone else worldwide and share the experience with real time results, right down to a virtual Catcher Car. Like all things, running is enjoying new trends to keep it fresh and exciting; this is just the next in a long line of unique races. 

“The World Run is my way to help raise awareness and funds for this special cause, and the unique race format keeps my racing interesting too. The ultra-marathon distance on fast roads plays really well into my area of specialty right now as a runner,” Neff shares of his love for the WFLWR.

The Houston heat is here to stay so we asked Neff to share a few tips to keep your running game strong for the Selfie Run and all summer long:

Embrace the heat! High humidity and heat training have a physiological response similar to altitude. At altitude, your body makes more red blood cells to adapt to less oxygen; in heat, your body creates more blood volume (therefore, more red blood cells). So when the cooler weather comes around you have the performance advantage of carrying more oxygen.

Run with others to stay motivated. You will find someone running at Memorial Park at any hour of the day, even when it’s hot.

Scale back your pace and distance. Don't expect the same performance as in cooler temps and don't be unmotivated by how you feel. Running in the heat can have the same symptoms of being out of shape but don't confuse the two.

Gatoritas. Blue Gatorade powder, ice, and water-blend. Ice slushy mixes are proven to be absorbed faster than room-temp or iced water, keeping you cool and hydrated. Use an insulated bottle or flask like the ones you can find from Nathan.

Dawn Patrol. This is a term given to weekend warriors trying to squeeze in adventures before work. It’s still going to be hot at 5 am but at least the sun won't be beating down on you. We could all use a few more sunrises in our life too.

Cryotherapy. My indoor escape from the heat is the Chilled Cryospa in Katy. This full recovery spa has all the tools to keep your body happy including the cryo tank where you stand for 3 minutes at -220 degrees!

Listen to your body. No different than any other time of year but especially important in the heat. Some days you just don't have it, don't fight it. Your heart will thank you later. Pay attention especially if you notice you are not sweating or have chills.

Head inside. Yes, the dreadmill.

Travel. It’s a good time to get away!

Instructions for signing up for the selfie run:

Download the “Selfie Run” app on your iOS or Android mobile device App Store.

Connect with Facebook or create an account.

Sign up for the Selfie Run and set your location for May 8 in Houston.

Log on and run with the world at 6 am.

(Click here for video help to sign up)