Yes, virtual running does exist and apparently it’s very popular. I learned about virtual running around four months ago through advertisements on social media. Curiosity got the better of me and I did my research to find out what virtual was all about. I quickly learned that there were numerous organizations that offered virtual runs. There was one common theme amongst all of them. Charity. Most of the organizations support local or national charities. It’s such an awesome and easy for them to make money.
How does it work? Simply sign up and run. I can run when I want and how I want. There really are no rules other than just completing the race at my own pace. For example I signed up for a 10 mile race in April. I’ve never ran 10 miles before so I broke it up into manageable pieces. I did three miles one day, a mile the next day and so on. I even walked part of my overall mileage goal. That is the best part. I can cater these races to my abilities. Once complete I submit my time (if required or recommended). It’s a mixed bag of which organizations will require me to submit my time. If i break it up into parts I just add the times together and submit it from there. There is really nothing to it.
What do I get? I get rewarded for my efforts. Almost all virtual runs offer a medal of some type. They aren’t ordinary or lame medals either. I’m talking high quality and unique. Some of the medals have even been better than OCR medals. A lot of them will offer race bibs as well. That’s another perk for me since I collect those. I’ve also seen organizations offer t-shirts for the specific event I’ve signed up for. I don’t take advantage of this since most of the time it’s an extra charge. If you enjoy medals you’ll enjoy the medals offered in virtual runs.
Why do I do them? These races keep me motivated to run. I don’t enjoy running, especially just for fun. I need something to run for. So I run for the charity and the medal. I have a rule that I cannot display the medal until I’ve completed the required mileage. When I get the medal in the mail it motivates me to want to run so I can show off the medal I received. Additionally, this helps with training. Going out and running helps keep me in running shape and ready for an OCR.
Where do I find them? US Road Racing and the Hogwarts Running Club are the two organizations I currently run for. You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to be apart of the Hogwarts Running Club. They offer some very unique medals and almost all of their proceeds go towards charity. They also switch the charity up each time. Not to mention the charity donation is tax deductible. US Road Racing is local to me and offers different virtual runs daily. They also offer physical events, but the virtual runs are more frequent. Google has been a great tool for finding organizations that offer virtual runs. I hope I can continue to find new ones for years to come.
Virtual running has become a lot of fun. It’s different, but keeps me motivated and challenged. I highly recommend trying one especially if you’re like me and not motivated to run, jog or walk. If I get any cool medals I’ll be sure to share them with you.
In the next mile I’ll get back on course with my pre-race report for MuckFest MS. Another awesome OCR supporting charity.