“What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?”
Founded in 2014, Virtual Strides is based in Florida and run by a small group of running enthusiasts. Our mission is simple: Raising money for charity while promoting physical fitness and better health.
Our founder, Mark, is better known for running (as in organizing) races than he is for running in races. Mark has several years of experience as a volunteer race director for events that have raised more than $300,000 for local charities. He recently received his MBA in Marketing and enjoys volunteering with his therapy dog, Cooper. Mark has made giant strides in his running in recent years, improving from being a “middle-of-the-pack” runner to setting a 5k PR with a time of 25:32.
Mike works behind the scenes at Virtual Strides, helping make the magic happen. He is our researcher and master programmer, all rolled into one Canadian. Yes, Mike is from Canada, but we try not to hold that against him. Mike recently set his 5k PR with a time of 24:10. He and Mark have been friends for over 20 years.
Lisa P. brings both artistic touch and running street-cred to the Virtual Strides team. She has been running competitively for more than two decades. Her favorite distance is 5k (where she has a 19:50 PR), but don’t let that fool you – she’s completed multiple marathons, including Boston. Lisa has a Master of Library and Information Studies degree from Florida State. When she’s not running, Lisa enjoys making jewelry, spending time with friends and family, and shopping for Lululemon.
Lisa O. is Virtual Strides’ Shipping Manager. If you’ve received a package from us, there’s a very good chance Lisa O. shipped it to you. Not only is she quick when it comes to putting medals into envelopes, but she’s shaved over 5 minutes off her 5k time as well. Lisa has broken the 30-minute mark several times now and plans to continue to chip away at her current PR.
Pat and Jen help Lisa O. with shipping when things get crazy, like they often do. Neither of them runs competitively, but they fill outgoing USPS mail bins with Virtual Strides packages like nobody’s business.
Alison is Virtual Strides’ social media guru. She is based in New Zealand, so if someone is responding to your tweets at 2 a.m. USA time, it’s probably her. A brisk walker, not a runner, she completed her first 5k after joining Virtual Strides. Alison then had to promise her four-year-old daughter that she could pick the next medal for them to earn. An eternal student with a weird and diverse skill set, Alison is currently studying yet more Communications papers, and trying to learn French.
Melody is our Data Verification Specialist. That is the fancy way of saying she makes sure all of the addresses customers enter are correct. A huge number of them don’t validate in our shipping software for one reason or another, so she tries to find the correct address and messages customers for updates as necessary. Melody’s first love is travel. She has visited 5 continents and more than 25 countries in her lifetime. When she isn’t traveling, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs and two cats and going to the nearby beach in Cancun, where she currently resides.
Cooper is arguably the heart and soul of the Virtual Strides team. He uses a paws-on approach to oversee all operations, from research and development to order processing and fulfillment. Cooper’s hobbies include frisbee, swimming, napping, and of course running. Cooper is well known in the local (Brevard County, FL) running community and can often be found leading the pack during area fun runs and dog-friendly races. Cooper won the Big Dog division of the local “5k9” race in back-to-back years and was once clocked at 27.2 mph in an all-out sprint. Above all, he is a good boy.
Murphy had yet to be adopted when Virtual Strides operated entirely from inside Mark and Lisa’s home, but he insisted on being listed on this page anyway since he wants to do everything his big brother does. Murphy is developing into an excellent running partner and is easily the fastest member of the Virtual Strides team, kicking it into Ludicrous Mode whenever he can. In his leisure time, Murphy is a little stinker. “Who, me???”