“A virtual event allows those who would have been unable to join us for the full PMC weekend to participate.”
On the first weekend in August, the Pan-Mass Challenge debuted the PMC Reimagined in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This year the challenge would still take place virtually.
Riders from all over the world, no longer limited to the Babson or Sturbridge starting lines, participated in the PMC Reimagined Virtual Start, a video with riders wearing the current year’s riding jersey. More than 10,000 riders participated, and each in their own unique way. That meant people on bikes, raising money, in 43 states and 12 countries.
The day continued with a 60-minute at-home virtual ride led by six-time US National Cyclocross Champion Tim Johnson. On day two, people participated in the PMC Reimagined Scavenger hunt on Instagram. The scavenger hunt included challenges like posting a photo during a virtual event, or posing using gear.
Bill Alfano, Director of Marketing at PMC, told DigBoston how the reimagined event posed difficulties but also offered opportunities. Alfano said it was difficult to bring “the sense of community from PMC weekend to our participants,” but noted that “even when we couldn’t be together in-person,” the new format also offered benefits.
“While we love coming together in-person,” Alfano said, “a virtual event allows those who would have been unable to join us for the full PMC weekend to participate.”
The virtuality seems to have helped donations as well. This year the donor base was far broader than in previous years, he said, and the virtual aspect allowed the event to stay visible on social media all day due to an onslaught of content from participants.
“Social media served as the centerpiece of the PMC weekend, housing incredible content from our community’s reimagined PMC rides,” Alfano said. “With all this content, we were able to keep our fundraising mission active and visible, leading to the highest PMC weekend fundraising ever.”
That money continues to be important for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“More than ever, PMC dollars are critical to support the world-class cancer care and additional resources we provide our patients and their families,” Laurie Glimcher, CEO of Dana-Farber, said in a statement. “We are so very grateful for the continued support from the PMC and the creative ways its riders are reimagining their experience this year to raise money for Dana-Farber.”
José da Silva is a fourth-year journalism student at Northeastern University with minors in Spanish and emerging markets. After recently completing a six-month stint as a marketing assistant, he hopes to write for more independent magazines in the future.