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WHY DID A VIRTUAL ULTRA BAN ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’? On July 31, Ben Chan, a recreational runner from New York City, finished a 635-mile virtual ultramarathon, known as The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee (GVRAT). The event was organized by noted race director Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell and required participants to complete the requisite distance between May 1 and August 31, while logging their daily mileage on the GVRAT website. 

After crossing the virtual finish line with an 8-mile run in his NYC neighborhood of Elmhurst, Chan—whose Facebook moniker is “Ben Asian Sensation Chan”—followed the example of other participants and posted a race recap on the GVRAT Facebook Group page. In the post, Chan noted that he’d done most of his running between 2 and 8 a.m. and that there were times during these nocturnal jaunts when a passing motorist would subject him to racist and homophobic slurs.

He wasn’t bringing this up to elicit sympathy, Chan wrote, but to call attention to the fact that other runners had to endure much worse on a regular basis—including his wife, who is Black. The post included a photo of Chan hoisting a championship belt in triumph (something he apparently had lying around the house) and wearing a “Black Lives Matter” singlet. 

The next morning, however, Chan noticed that his post had been deleted. There was a note from Cantrell: “I am 1000% in agreement, but this is not a political site.”

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