What Is A Virtual Race?

What is a Virtual Race?

Virtual races are all the rage right now. And they come with a ton of benefits. You don’t need to show up early to find parking. You don’t end up bumping elbows with the person running next to you. You also get to choose your own route and starting line.

All in all, virtual races are super flexible – even offering a bit of a break from those pre-race jitters. Yet, the seasoned runner may be slightly confused by this less-than-traditional race style. 

So, let’s lay it all out. What’s there to know?

The Virtual Race Explained

A virtual race means you can run the race from any location. You can even run it on a treadmill – if you want. 

Technically, you are the race director and the race participant. The responsibility of timing your entire race and mapping out your distance lies in your hands. But the cool part is that you still get a medal. 

Unlike traditional races, your medal comes in the mail after you’ve completed your virtual race.

What is a Virtual Challenge?

A virtual challenge is very similar to a virtual race. However, rather than having a set distance and running it, challenges consist of a longer distance completed over longer periods of time. 

For instance, your total distance might be 60 kilometers. Yet, you have a whole month to complete it. This means you might break it up into 10-kilometer, 5-kilometer, or even 2-kilometer segments.

The Benefits of Running a Virtual Race or Challenge

There are an array of reasons why many runners are loving virtual races. The numerous benefits include:

1. You can run your race at any time.

Virtual races are on your own schedule. This means you can easily fit it into your calendar. 

Got plans today? Do it tomorrow. Not an early bird? You can run it in the afternoon or evening. The time of your race is whatever works for you. And the truth is you never get this kind of freedom with traditional races.

2. They keep you motivated.

Not feeling it lately? Maybe a virtual race is exactly what you need to get your butt into gear. 

A virtual race or challenge gives you a goal. When it comes to fitness, a lot of people need goals to keep going. Runners are frequently no different. A virtual race helps to keep you motivated and on track, especially during uncertain times.

3. Many of these virtual races are linked to charities.

Similar to traditional races, many virtual race fees go to charity. If this interests you, do some research on virtual races. Find one that supports a charity or cause you feel good about!

4. Challenges keep you motivated to accomplish bigger goals.

Maybe you never thought you could run 60 kilometers or 100 kilometers in one month. After a virtual challenge, you might be surprised by what you can accomplish. They show you what you’re made of and capable of. 

These challenges also add motivation by giving you a big goal to work toward. It’s not just a one-day event. It’s usually an event that goes on for many weeks or sometimes even many months.

5. You can run anywhere you like.

With traditional races, you’re stuck with whatever route the race organizers plan. With virtual races, you plan your route. This means you won’t have to face a ton of uphill if you aren’t prepared for it. 

You get to choose your surroundings. Maybe you’d prefer a park nearby with those scenic river views. Or perhaps you simply want to run in front of the T.V. on your treadmill at home. You decide! Choose whatever makes you the most comfortable or motivated.

6. There are no spectators.

For beginner runners, the spectators and other runners at a real race can be intimidating. Yes, they provide motivation. But sometimes, especially when something is new, you just don’t want to be watched.

In virtual races, you don’t need to worry about what other people think because no one is watching. You get to go out and simply do your thing!

7. You don’t have travel or accommodation expenses.

Some races mean long travel times and hotel or gas expenses. This is frequently after you’ve already paid the expense for the race itself, which, sometimes, doesn’t come cheap!

A virtual race completely eliminates these costs. Usually, the race cost itself is less than your traditional race since there are fewer logistics involved. Plus, you still get a medal.

8. There aren’t any time limits.

This is another great benefit for beginners. Virtual races have no time limit. You go your own pace – without worrying whether things may shut down before you cross that finish line. 

9. There are no crowds.

For a lot of runners, this is a big one. At traditional races, the crowds usually mean spending time finding parking, long line-ups for the bathrooms, and potentially being crammed into a Corel with a bunch of other runners. 

At a virtual race, this isn’t a problem. It’s unlikely you and another runner are doing similar routes. It’s also unlikely that you are running at the same time. 

Sign Up For A Virtual Race Today!

What have you got to lose? Stay motivated by completing a virtual race or challenge. There are endless benefits involved.

What did you think? Did we miss any benefits? Let us know in the comments below.

Picture of Canaan Valley Half Marathon Editorial Staff

Canaan Valley Half Marathon Editorial Staff

This article was written by the Canaan Valley Half Marathon editorial staff.

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