Organizers of the Sporting Life 10K run in Toronto say rather than cancelling this year’s event in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, they will hold a “virtual run” for people who planned to take part.

The virtual run, organizers say, offers runners a “safer way” to participate in this year’s event as the city practices social distancing to curb the spread of the serious respiratory illness.

The run, which is held on Mother’s Day each year, raises money for Camp Ooch, a non-profit oncology camp for families impacted by childhood cancer.

“Community safety has always been the Sporting Life 10k’s first priority,” Jean-Paul Corbeil, the director of advertising and marketing for Sporting Life, said in a written statement.

“While we’re all disappointed that we cannot be together running down Yonge Street in Toronto, we are excited to offer this new and safe format so that people all across Canada can still make the magic of Ooch possible for kids affected by childhood cancer.”

Virtual runs can be held on a treadmill, track, sidewalk, or trail, organizers say, and participants can run, jog, or walk at their own pace.

Bibs, participant T-shirts, and medals will be sent to participants through the mail.

The move comes after various runs across the country, including the Toronto Marathon, were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Organizers of the Sporting Life run added that “more details” will be sent out in the coming weeks about how technology “will be leveraged to unite runners and foster connection in a safe, socially responsible way.”

Those who have signed up but do not want to take part in the virtual run can convert their $150 registration fee to a donation that benefits Camp Ooch.

A full refund will be available upon request to anyone who has registered for the event.

Organizers noted that the future runs will be held using the traditional format but the option to take part virtually will also be offered going forward.

“We’re united even when we’re apart—we’re delighted to be able to say that we still run for Ooch,” Corbeil concluded.