Virtual Running: What is it?

I thought it about time that I mention virtual running.  This is something that I was introduced to about a year ago.  I had never heard of it before, but as soon as I looked into it I realised it was exactly my thing.

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POW Half Marathon, 2015

The concept is simple.  You sign up and pay to enter a virtual race, you run the distance in your own time, submit the evidence and receive the medal.  Most virtual races, and I ensure I only choose races that do, donate between 10% – 20% of the entry fee towards a nominated charity.

Who are virtual races aimed at?  I would say they are aimed at people just like me.  With a busy work schedule and a young family, getting away at weekends to go and run official races is incredibly difficult.  Unfortunately for me the only time I get to run, are at times when there are no official races.

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Virtual Runner 10km Halloween Run, Oct 2015

I don’t consider myself materialistic, but it was disheartening to do all this training and have nothing to show for it.  I loved seeing other runners achievements, showing off their hard earned bling and I wanted to be apart of it.  Virtual running allows you to do this.

Virtual Races seem to be very popular in the USA and they are now on the increase here in the UK.  One thing I have noticed about the races in the USA is that they are more expensive ($25 – $30 or £17 – £21) compared to the UK (£10 – £12).  It was especially disappointing to see the RunDisney Virtual races clocking in at $142 (£98) for three races, with nothing seemingly going to charity!  A virtual race should never cost more than a real event.

Some of the Virtual Race websites that I have come across are mentioned below, however it should be noted I have only used POW Virtual Running and Virtual Runner to date (see photos as an example).

UK

  1. POW Virtual Running.
  2. Virtual Runner.
  3. Virtual Running UK.
  4. Run Mummy Run.
  5. Run For Bling UK.
  6. Virtual Run 24/7.
  7. Virtual Fun Run.

USA

  1.  Virtual Strides.
  2. Moon Joggers.
  3. Virtual Run Events.
  4. Will Run For Bling.
  5. Virtual Run World.
  6. Hogwarts Running Club.

In the last year I have completed 12 virtual races. The last two races were both Star Wars related, so I was keen to get out and run for #Maythe4ththBeWithYou and #RevengeOfThe5th.   I am guessing you need to be a Star Wars fan to understand what this means.

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The Virtual Runner Poppy Challenge, Nov 2015

One of my virtual running highlights was the Poppy Challenge medal, which was in support of The Royal British Legion.  The aim of this virtual race was for the total distance of all those taking part to come to 88,824.6km, which represented how many poppies were at the Tower of London.  When broken down each person had to complete a minimum of 33km in the month of November.  You could run once or you could run 30 times, it didn’t matter as long as your total monthly distance was 33km or more.  Given my knee injury I was delighted to complete 56km in support of this challenge.

Not all virtual races are the same, some require a set distance on a given day and others require a distance to be achieved over a period of time.  This is the great thing about virtual races, you choose the ones that work for you.

The last thing to say on Virtual Racing, is to make sure you remember what races you have entered.

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POW Gotham 10k, Jan 2016
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Virtual Runner, Any Distance Race, May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If anyone has any other virtual race websites they wish me to add, send me a message and I will update this page.

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