Virtual 5k unites gymnastics community after season cut short

Virtual 5K unites gymnasts

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The coronavirus canceled a lot of group gatherings.

However, it hasn’t kept people from finding ways to come together to reach a common goal.

Gymnasts from around the country, including several Southeast Missouri State University athletes, participated in the Flippin 5k on Saturday, April 17.

The run is held as a way to grow the sport of gymnastics at the collegiate level.

The race is supposed to coincide with the NCAA Gymnastics Nationals.

However, the meet was canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Instead of canceling the race, organizers turned it into a virtual 5k with a slightly different narrative.

“Just really unite our clubs, families, friends, anyone who is involved in college gymnastics and just kind of get the word out there and spread the joy and celebrate not only our athletes and our seniors and the growth of adding gymnastics,” Ashley Lawson said, the head gymnastics coach at SEMO.

Lawson said although gymnasts, families, fans, and alumni are socially distanced, they seem to run as one for the Flippin 5k.

Runners from Cape Girardeau to New Zealand posted on social media that they were completing the race.

“It’s really amazing to be able to watch the country kind of unite over this,” Lawson said.

Due to the coronavirus, the SEMO gymnastics season was also cut short.

Lawson said the short season was heartbreaking, though, the team is grateful for what they were able to accomplish in such a short time.

“We had a fire within us,” Lawson said. “We knew we had a lot to prove this year and they did that and we got the third-place trophy for conference.”

The virtual 5k is a sign that despite these uncertain times, nothing will stop these gymnasts from moving forward.

“I am excited and they are excited for next year,” Lawson said. “We’re ready to continue our upward slope and show the world really truly who SEMO gymnastics really is.”

Virtual runs like these are happening all over the country and are great motivation to get you up and moving.

On Saturday, April 25, SEMO is hosting its annual walk for women.

The walk, aimed at supporting women in sports, is also being held virtually.

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