About Us

A Runners Solidarity Movement and call to Action in Response to COVID-19

No one is immune to the challenges our world is currently facing. Our vulnerable populations are especially exposed and too many people have already lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to race towards a vaccine together and do everything we can as individuals to be part of the solution.

Our Story

We are runners, we are strong… we know how to fall and get back up again… we know how important goals are… community unites and inspires us… and we aspire to run for a greater purpose than our individual goals.

The NOVID-20 Virtual Run is a global virtual challenge using Strava to engage, unite, and inspire our running community to keep motivated, fit, and accelerate research for COVID-19.

Why the name NOVID-20?

NOVID-20 represents ‘No viral disease in 2020’ and is our optimistic view a vaccine will be developed in 2020 to inoculate the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 is looking back, NOVID-20 is looking ahead.

The Team

Melissa Paauwe

Melissa Paauwe (Founder and Head Coach, We Run the World Coaching) – Melissa is an elite runner and endurance athlete, certified running coach, Professional Accountant (CPA) and Treasurer for MitoCanada. As a coach, her primary goal is to keep people fit, both physically and mentally, especially during these times of uncertainty. By joining the NOVID-20 Virtual Run initiative, she hopes to accomplish her goal by motivating people to keep running for a different kind of finish line: a Covid-19 vaccine.

Megan MacDonald

Megan MacDonald (Canadian Director, Team Mito) – Megan is an elite runner and triathlete, mom to two amazing energetic youngsters, and the Team Mito national lead.  In this time of uncertainty, NOVID-20 has created an outlet to focus her energy on what she CAN do as a global citizen.  By uniting as runners around the world, she is hopeful to see the positive impact we can make as we run together towards a vaccine.  

Kirsten Fleming

Kirsten Fleming (Executive Director, Run Calgary / Calgary Marathon) – Kirsten Fleming is a Canada-based runner and race director. She has overseen the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon for 8 years as the executive director of Run Calgary. When she isn’t wearing her race director cap, planning and executing Run Calgary’s seven events a year, she can be found sweating in the Rockies with her husband Matt. While she is deeply committed to both road and trail running, her Strava reveals a side crush on mountain biking and skiing. Kirsten is riding out the public health crisis by running alone and catching up on her two favorite running podcasts Women Run Canada and Bib Rave. 

Blaine Penny

Blaine Penny (Co-founder and CEO, MitoCanada Foundation) – Blaine is a lifelong endurance athlete who discovered the joy of running 15 years ago.  In 2008, Blaine’s son (Evan) tragically suffered an unexplained brain injury and overnight went from being a perfectly typical 4-year-old boy to a spastic quadriplegic (who could no longer walk, talk or eat) as a result of mitochondrial disease. Not letting this tragic twist of fate get him down, Blaine and several other families across Canada got together and founded the MitoCanada Foundation.  Through the ups and downs of a stressful life caring for a complex needs child, the running community has become an extended family for Blaine and he sees how important community and health are to everyone as we face the uncertain times ahead due to COVID-19.

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