Updated: Jan 1, 2020
This blog post is entirely dedicated to the wonderful thing that is the virtual run. Just as a quick side note, throughout this blog post we will use the term virtual run but really these are more aptly titled virtual events, because many of these virtual runs are not just for running and include activities such as walking, swimming, cycling etc.
For athletes that are used to entering into physical events where they have to travel, have a crowd and a physically marked out course this may seem like a foreign concept. However, a lot of people in the fitness community are getting into virtual runs ... and we are going to tell you why you should and how much fun they are.
What on Earth is this Virtual Run thing you speak of?
Just in case you haven't encountered the phenomenon that is the virtual run, let us quickly catch you up on what they are before we tell you how great they are.
Virtual runs are an event that you sign up for online and can be linked to an online community of people doing the same event. The event is normally determined by the organisers, along with the rules for completing that event. For example, a virtual run could be that you must complete a 10km run and one of the rules that the organisers put in place for that event could be that it needs to be completed in the month of June.
If there are any finishing medals/certificates/bibs/merchandise these are normally posted to the athlete and oftentimes the athlete is required to record their activity with some sort of app and they send proof that it has been completed through to event organisers.
Benefits of entering a Virtual Run
There are many benefits of participating in virtual events, however we have selected our 10 top reasons why virtual runs can be so beneficial:
Motivation: A lot of times virtual event athletes choose this style of event to keep them accountable with their training and have a goal to aim for. A lot of virtual run athletes also report that virtual events are good to get them moving again if they've been on a break.
Autonomy: With virtual events, you get to do your event your way. This means that you complete them at times that are convenient to your lifestyle, locations of your choosing (even if this is your living room) and as an individual or with friends. This means that you don't have to fight with traffic or on crowded public transport to get to a physical event and you can keep your lie in on work free days if you so choose. Equally, if your virtual event requires you to complete a particular distance, you can usually choose to break this distance up however you like which is beneficial if you're having a bad training day.
Less intimidating: If you are an athlete that is just getting started in a sport or you simply hate having to perform in a situation with a lot of other people then a virtual event can be a lot less intimidating than other large, physical events.
No more rainy start lines: It doesn't matter how hardcore an athlete you are, we have all had those days where the thought of completing a physical event that we've signed up for in the rain/wind/cold just seems miserable and takes the fun out of that event. With a virtual event you could plan to complete some or all of it on a particular day and if the weather changes, move it to a day with more favourable conditions.
No restrictions on prams: So for the athletes completing land based events who like to push their little ones with them, there is no restriction on where they start or dodging other athletes in a crowd.
Parkruns count ... even if you forget your barcode: If you are participating in a walking or running event, you can use regular activities you do such as parkrun, to make up your kms.
Awesome themes and race bling: Oftentimes, virtual runs have awesome medals and really fun themes that you can interact with.
No cut off times!
Price: Often, virtual events can be a lot cheaper than physical events, so including a couple of these per year in your event budget can be quite cost effective.
Online Communities: Virtual events will often have a little community of followers that are completing the same event as you. This means that you can interact with like-minded athletes and you can chat about topics related to your sport, or troubleshoot issues you are having. So even if you can't find a friend or family member to sign up with you, you don't have to be in the virtual event alone.
If you haven't done a virtual run before, or if you are looking for something fun to complete and keep you motivated check out the Runnovation Shop for details of our latest Murder Mystery Virtual Run and Mind & Body Virtual Challenge: www.runnovation.com.au/shop.