When a friend first sent me a link to a virtual 5k race, I expected to find some type of running simulator. There is a P.C. game genre known as “walking simulators” (which are much more interesting than the name would indicate) and action games in which a large part of gameplay is moving your on-screen character from Point A to Point B very quickly.

So I imagined some kind of massively multiplayer game where everyone raced their avatars across a course, with some kind of stats and physics worked in to keep it from being a huge mass of player’s avatar’s tangled up on the screen.

But, no, contestants in a virtual race don’t get off that easily.

You may never actually see the people you’re racing against (or the people you’re running alongside, for you non-competitive types), but you will physically exert yourself for five kilometers.

This week, the Wicomico County Department of Recreation and Parks held the “5K for Front Lines” virtual run/walk.

To enter, participants download a free running app — MapMyRun, Strava or Runkeeper. A running watch works, too.

Then run or walk a 5k (3.1 miles). You can do it without leaving your home, using a treadmill, or go outside and run alone while respecting social distance or run with a group of family members you live with (and still respect social distancing if you come across other).

Once the 5k is completed, save an image that shows you completed the distance (map, photo with stats, or treadmill photo). Upload it to Facebook with the hashtag #5kforFrontLines. Make sure your post is public.

In the Wicomico race, five random participants will receive a $25 gift card to a local restaurant (that hopefully has carry-out or the card has a long expiration date).

Also, the Wicomico event will purchase 300 meals and donate them to a frontline employee in Wicomico County (one meal each; not all 300 for one).

There it is: a road race you can do from our home. Might be a bit difficult to outkick someone to the finish line. And some will certainly be using an easier course than others. So I don’t really see it catching on as a competitive event.

Which, fortunately, is not its intention.

* * *

All, right. Let’s see where we are at present.

First, “the media” was overhyping the COVID-19 pandemic, making it out to be more of a crisis than its actually was, for ratings or something.

Now, in just the past week:

“The media” downplayed the pandemic, leading people to believe it wasn’t as serious a problem as was being warned;

“The media” benefitted from “the government” closing everything down (despite the fact it’s really hurting newspapers);

And last I looked, “the media” is now working to help keep people afraid.

Serious, the people out there bashing the media don’t have a freaking clue. It’s the nutjobs on social media who spread lies and shouldn’t be trusted.

It is amusing, however, to see the people spouting this nonsense are typically also the people suffering from anti-government paranoia. The ones who claim they know the real “truth” and those who don’t go along are the mindless, indoctrinated sheep.

Yet it’s the ones who claim to know the “truth” who repeat the same claims, mindlessly chant the same mantras, and instantly switch their charges against the media to fit their narrative of the moment.

Who are the indoctrinated sheep, again?

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