Just as virtual meetings have become a mainstay of everyday life in the past 16 months, virtual running has become a necessity for races all over the world as a result of travel restrictions. And while you can’t necessarily recreate the experience of running a destination race – the pre-race excitement, finding your corral, the crowds cheering people on, and of course the swag at the end – the virtual aspect undoubtedly brings some benefits.
I absolutely love in person races nothing beats the excitement and adrenaline of a starting line, but with the pandemic, for the first time ever, I dipped my toes into virtual races. I never thought I would be converted to running virtual races, but I have and now I love them!
- Running a virtual race in your home town/city means you don’t have to deal with travel and the stresses that come with it. You get to sleep in your own bed and don’t have to worry about luggage getting lost or making sure you have remembered to bring everything.
- Being away from home for a race can sometimes mean that you aren’t able to eat what you would like to eat or would normally eat when training, which is not always ideal for race day.
- You may get to run races that you didn’t think you ever would. Granted, it’s not the same as actually being there, but it’s a pretty close second.
- You don’t have to wake up super early for the race start. You can run the race to your own schedule and set your own start time.
- You can plan your own route, which is excellent if you are not a fan of hills!
- Some virtual races allow you to run the race itself within a certain window of a few days or weeks, as opposed to a specific in-person race day. This means that if you are not feeling it or you have a slight niggle, you have that flexibility to push the race day and give yourself additional time if needed.
- You can arrange for your friends and family to cheer you on at your self-appointed finish line and place the medal around your neck when you finish the race!
So there you go. Virtual running might not be a trend that stays the course over a longer period of time as in-person races return, but there are definitely some benefits to running races virtually if organisers decide to maintain a virtual/in-person hybrid approach going forward.
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