|Not a problem with a virtual race!|
This thought popped into my head a few weeks ago when a link for US Road Running appeared in my Facebook feed. When I first saw it, I thought this was some really official race company, and so I checked out the company's website. There are a few live races listed, but mostly virtual races with some pretty fancy medals. Many of the medals commemorate holidays. Once you register for the race, you must complete the selected distance and post your results by a deadline. But you don't have to post a finish time to receive the medal. There are 2 options for registration-a medal and a bib or a medal, bib, and race shirt. The races can be done by an individual or a group. There is a discount for groups.
Before the explosion of virtual races, there were virtual runs, usually in memory of a lost loved one or runner. A few years ago, Beth at Shut Up and Run hosted a virtual run after her cousin Sherry was killed while out on a run. While mostly a symbolic gesture, she did put a bib on her blog that runners could download and wear while dedicating their miles to Sherry. There was also the ability to donate money to the family. After another runner, Meg Menzes, was struck by a drunk driver and killed, a group of friends asked runners to dedicate their miles to Meg. The response was huge. Runners posted their miles on the group's Facebook page, which remains very active to this day. No medals were awarded for these runs--the victory was symbolic.
Here's some questions that came to my mind when I thought about a virtual race. Why do a virtual race? Do you do it for the bling? What's the point of paying to run a distance/route you normally run? Do you run a virtual for a cause? Or do you sign up but not run it at all, just to get the bling?
There are no races that fit your schedule. Back in March when I had to DNS my Florida half, I hated to waste all that training and not run a race. I was ready to go, and I looked for a local half to meet my needs. I was lucky (pun intended) to find the Get Lucky half the very weekend of my Florida race. I probably wouldn't have run that race otherwise, but it worked out just great for me. However, what if I couldn't have found a race? A virtual race certainly would have fit the bill. I guess I could have gone out and just ran 13.1 miles on my own, but having some incentive, such as a medal waiting for me at the finish, would be more motivating and fun. I know I'd try a little harder than if it were "just" a run.
Running for bling? Virtual races are definitely on the honor system. Go read Happy Fit Mama's post about her Boston Marathon experience and about how awful she felt going home with a medal she didn't earn. After you complete a virtual race, most races ask that you submit your finish times. This is on the honor system. You're not competing with anyone, so you may as well tell the truth! With some virtual races, you get the medal before you've even run the race. So the onus is on the runner to get those miles done. To me, it's like wearing a race shirt before the race. I just can't do it! Some people might not be as motivated to head out the door on their own as they would be to run a live race. But I'm pretty sure none of my readers would ever take a medal for a race they didn't run.
Running for charity? I found a number of websites that host virtual races for charity. Will Run For Bling, Races For Awareness, and Get Fit For Bling are among some of the more popular websites that host a variety of virtual runs. Skirt Sports, the company that sells really cute running clothes, also hosts a virtual race series. So you can look cute and get your race on! Some live races offer a virtual option, such as the Florida Road Races. Having participated in one of their live events, the Florida Beach Halfathon, I can say that they are a great race organizer to work with. These are all just a few suggestions, but there are a lot more opportunities out there!
|I'm sure they asked me because I am Bad Ass...|
|Victorious at the Turkey Trot in November last year|
But it's a guarantee that I'll have really good beer at the finish line for this one! I'm married to a homebrewer, after all...
Anyone else running this one? Have you ever run a virtual race? Can you think of any other reasons to run one? Want to sign up to run this one with me? The dates are May 29-31. Go to Gone For A Run to learn more.
disclaimer: This race entry is being provided to me by Gone For A Run in exchange for this blog post and a race report after the race. The thoughts and opinions on this blog post are all mine! Of course!
I'm linking up with Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday! Be sure to check out what all the other bloggers are up to today.