New York marathon for peace: ESport runners use sport to join Syrian conflict

Written by Staff Writer Alina Polyakova, CNN Trainers used to sit around in a glassed-in room and have their results compared. Now, they race against the clock and unleash themselves on a virtual battlefield….

New York marathon for peace: ESport runners use sport to join Syrian conflict

Written by Staff Writer

Alina Polyakova, CNN

Trainers used to sit around in a glassed-in room and have their results compared. Now, they race against the clock and unleash themselves on a virtual battlefield.

These are the psychological tricks and strategies used to “win” multiplayer war games known as “eSport.”

The basic concept is to beat others in a speed-run against the clock, where speed is all. Like a video game battle, the runner attempts to complete different tasks to score more points. But the rules are different: only a win per round counts.

How do you beat another in a eSport?

The unique rules of such a game means victory is anything but straightforward, and each round of the race is physically different.

As one of the top five fastest runners, Vitaly Golt, 36, decided to try something new — the New York City Marathon.

“I went to the doctor for a shock wave test after I finished my qualifying Olympic trial race. After I finished, he said I could run a marathon,” Golt, 36, said.

Mariana Jaramillo, a friend and fellow runner, recommended a run at Columbia University in Manhattan. Golt decided to take the subway to the finish line, wearing the New York marathon shirt he made for himself on his dorm room walls.

“As it was winter, it was the first time that I experienced it. The cold was quite nasty,” Golt said.

Luckily for him, he had crossed the finish line in less than three hours.

Well, “runner friends” weren’t required for the event, Golt said, and participants took to the streets without warm gear.

“When I first got to the finish line, I actually collapsed on the ground. Then the energy from the subway stopped me,” Golt said.

“I think that’s what stopped me,” he said.

He reached the finish line in under three hours — two minutes faster than his time in the Olympic test — and threw his hands up in the air and celebrated the victory with his friends.

Although he didn’t need any help to get there, Golt says he felt great after the race.

Inspired by the experience, he decided to sign up for another race — this time, a public one.

So, Golt and a group of friends decided to run a marathon on a public trail around New York City and take to the streets “the same way a marathon runner would,” Golt said.

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