Running Turns Virtual For Zervos Family

Zara, Zoe Compete in Virtual 5K

Photo Provided Shown are sisters Zara, left, and Zoe Zervos.

GLEN DALE — We have now been cast in a virtual world thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

The sports arena has been no exception.

A Marshall County family, stocked full of running enthusiasts, turned their love of pounding the pavement into a virtual event.

Ted Zervos is a highly respected coach at John Marshall. He is currently the girls’ soccer and track coach at JM while also previously serving as head wrestling coach.

His oldest daughter, Zara (17), is on the short list of most talented prep athletes in the Ohio Valley. His youngest daughter, Zoe (11), is starting to carve her own athletic niche. Zara is a multi-sport athlete with the Monarchs. Zoe, meanwhile, will enter Sherrard Middle School this fall.

The sisters competed in a virtual 5K recently.

“The virtual 5K was a great experience,” their mother, Shawna, noted. “The participants printed out bibs and ran with the choice of venue (treadmill, neighborhood etc.) being up to the individual runner.

“They both ran on the Moundsville-Glen Dale trail outdoors early in the morning. Following the race, they uploaded their times through Garmin watches and you were able to see times for different ages of participants. They had fun and it was very motivational for the little sister who will be running cross country at Sherrard this fall.”

That virtual 5K set the table for a much bigger undertaking for Zara.

She and her dad tackled a 26-hour/mile marathon.

“Zara and her dad started the race on a Friday at 3 p.m. They ran every hour on the hour for a mile, and then rested or refueled with water or a snack before the next mile,” Shawna said. “They kept all of their miles under 10 minutes in an effort to maximize recovery time. They ran in our neighborhood which was challenging at night due to no streetlights but did run by headlights.”

The two virtual events helped fill a void for Zara. She was primed to compete for state titles in track this spring.

Ted, meanwhile, is a battle-tested road racer. He has competed in the Columbus and Boston marathons.

Zara has scripted an outstanding career at John Marshall, both athletically and academically.

She has excelled in four sports. She has gained all-OVAC and all-Valley honors in soccer. Zara does double duty in the fall, also distinguishing herself in cross country. She placed ninth in the state meet this past fall. She was subsequently named captain of the all-Valley cross country team.

Zara also excels in the water. She has qualified for the state swim championships all three years.

the coronavirus wiped out what promised to be another successful track season for the mid-distance dandy.

As a freshman, Zara placed third in the 800 meters and fourth in the 400 meters in the state track meet. She also ran a leg on the Monarchs’ 4X400 relay team which placed fourth.

As a sophomore, she took home fifth place in the state championships in both the 400 and 800 meters. The JM 4X400 relay team placed sixth. In addition, Zara was the overall 400-meter champion in the 2019 OVAC Cal Giffin Championships.

She also excels in the classroom, being named to the OVAC All-Academic Team all three years.

“I enjoyed finding unique ways to challenge myself and still have fun. It was nice that my family was able to get outside during the pandemic and run together,” Zara said. “My family enjoys running. I’ve been running with my dad my whole life and now having my little sister join us is exciting.”

Zara learned about the Virtual 5K and the virtual marathon through an email she received from Runners Connect.


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