5 Reasons to Run Virtual Races

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Whether you’re taking your first steps into the world of running or have been enjoying the sport for years, your training can benefit from signing up for a virtual race or fitness challenge. They’re an excellent way for athletes of all shapes, sizes and abilities to focus their efforts and earn rewards based on your achievements.

The great thing about Virtual Running Club is that we have a challenge for everyone that fits in with any kind of training. From one-off challenges with set distances that’ll motivate you to hit that PR or show yourself that you CAN reach that goal you never thought you could to cumulative challenges that’ll get you out the door on the days your motivation is waning, we’ve got it all.

What are Virtual Races and Challenges?

Woman running on a treadmill

Virtual races and challenges are versatile events. You can run, walk, hike, row, bike, elliptical, skate, swim, or roll anywhere and anytime. 

Sounds pretty great, right? And when you participate in a virtual race or challenge, friends that want to support you on the route can join you during your race regardless of whether they’ve registered, too.

Now, let's dive in...

5 reasons to run a virtual race

#1: Train and race wherever and whenever you want

Person walking on a trail

With virtual races and fitness challenges, you can train at your own pace and on your own schedule and race where and when you want to. They’re a great option for folks looking to add flexibility to their training and racing schedule. 

When we say anywhere, we mean anywhere! Our participants have completed their events just about everywhere. Here are some places you can complete your virtual race:

  1. 1
    Your favorite trail (Even hike it!)
  2. 2
    On the elliptical, treadmill, or stationary bike at the local gym
  3. 3
    Running around your living room (yes, people have done this! That’s dedication!)
  4. 4
    Around your neighborhood
  5. 5
    At your local track
  6. 6
    On the beach on vacation

Do you want to avoid hills? Perfect, you get to choose your route. Are you worried about aid stations or availability of bathrooms? It’s no trouble if you’re able to run close to home and know all the local stops. 

#2: Train with purpose

Woman smiling on a bridge

Goals are what help us recognize our progress and are the key to success. They can be big, they can be small, they can even be mini-milestones on the way to a bigger goal. Virtual races and fitness challenges are a great way to hold yourself accountable to all of those goals and more and lend a hand in your continued progress.

If you’re starting a beginner program like Couch to 5K, having a goal 5K virtual race (with swag!) on your calendar gives you something to look forward to. Or, while you’re completing the walk/run lengths that help you build up to running a full 5K, you could consider a long-term fitness challenge to give your training a boost. By accomplishing small goals along the way and seeing how far you’ve come, you’ll feel rewarded with every step.

If you’re a more advanced runner and have a big race like a half marathon or full marathon on your calendar, long-term fitness challenges can be the excitement and motivation you need to ramp up your training. You can count miles you’re training toward your challenge and you can even count the in-person race itself toward your overall challenge goal.

#3: Pace Perfect

Man setting his watch

Race day jitters are real! When you’re tackling an in-person race or challenge, you might find your adrenaline totally fired up when you’re milling around in your corral waiting for the event to start. But as soon as the starting gun goes off, your adrenaline is gone! You’ve got an empty gas tank before you even start the race or challenge and by the time you’re finished, you’re exhausted. 

With a virtual race or challenge, you can create and control your race day environment. You get to choose when you want to wake up, how soon you start after having a pre-race meal, and the route. 

You’re also more likely to focus on your pace and effort. Doing this helps you practice pacing for future races and establish speed discipline that will pay off in the long-term. With all that adrenaline pumping at an in-person race, you might be tempted to fly across the start line at lightning speed. It’s exciting until you run out of juice a couple of miles in. The pacing strategies and speed discipline that you develop while completing a virtual race or challenge will help you get those jitters under control for both virtual and in-person races. 

Virtual races and challenges are also a great way for new athletes to have a practice run at race day on their own terms. You don’t have to worry about impressing anyone nor do you have to deal with course limitations. You can do your own thing without any added pressure. 

#4: Fun Swag!

Family dressed up for a race

By taking on a virtual race or an exercise challenge, you’ll be setting yourself up to earn some serious bling. Virtual races have swag, too! And much of the time, the swag is as cool or even cooler than in-person races.

When you sign up for one of VRC’s races or challenges, you’ll get the chance to celebrate #MedalMonday on social media and shine a light on yourself and your accomplishments. We want the swag to be top of the line so you feel great about what you earned.

At Virtual Running Club, we have swag lovers planning the swag for our racers. We know what racers and challengers want because we run races and challenges ourselves and want something cool to show our friends.

From medals to pins to coins, the world of swag is vast. For virtual challenges especially, it’s easy to shake up the swag to make it intriguing and inspiring. You’ll want to go the extra mile so you can get that medal or coin.

We also love to give you options with your swag, which is not something you’ll find at every race. If you just want a medal, you’ll just get a medal and won’t have to add another t-shirt to your overflowing collection. If you want a swag-a-rific package, you can add a t-shirt and a waterproof keepsake bib. By keeping our swag a la carte, we keep costs down for registrants and are able to give you more variety in your options while maintaining the high quality you’ve come to expect from us. 

Plus, we allow you the ability to personalize your bib number. If you’re hoping to set a PR and want to put a lucky number on your bib, awesome! And good luck! If you’re supporting a friend or another racer and want to share bib numbers, great! Whether you’re going for goals, generosity, or just want a fun number, you can do it at Virtual Running Club. 

So how do you get your swag with Virtual Running Club? Easy. All you have to do is report your time. We believe in the honor system at VRC, so if you say you completed your race, that’s great and we take you at your word. Reporting is easy to do, you can use our Spark Fitness app (free) for our virtual races and challenges, or use our website to report.

When you report, you’re all set! It tells us that we need to send you your medal so you can celebrate your accomplishments.

#5: Support a Good Cause

5 Reasons to Run Virtual Races 6

Many virtual races and challenges are about more than just the distance, they’re about going the distance for others. Incorporating a charitable element into the race is a popular way for races to help challengers pay it forward with every step. 

Virtual Running Club often works with the Wander Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to, “engage with athletes and endurance racing events to support local communities through inspiring fundraising and service.” 

It began after Virtual Running Club’s founder and CEO Salem Stanley realized that Vacation Races (VRC’s sister organization) “realized that the organization had a moral obligation to create positive impacts in the communities where the races are being held.”

Since The Wander Project’s inception in 2015, it’s raised over $600,000 to support local communities through fundraising and service. 

How do they support local communities? The money that’s raised goes to support local charities near the events being held. These include organizations like Yellowstone Forever, Navajo YES, Yosemite Conservancy, the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and many many more.

Virtual Running Club seeks to work with other charities as well. Our Get to Sesame Street Challenge has raised almost six figures for the Yellow Feather Fund, which is Sesame Workshop’s Charity. 

On the toughest days of your virtual race or fitness challenge, knowing that you’re supporting a great cause with every step can be the motivation you need to get going.

What Are You Waiting For? Get Started Now!

Whether you’re looking for a classic virtual race or are yearning to test yourself with a fitness challenge, Virtual Running Club has got you covered. Our calendar is packed with events and we’ve got bigger, better, and more exciting events on the way. We’re a group of athletes making events for athletes. 

What are you looking for in your next event? Are you more of a racer or a challenger, or a nice mix of both? Check out our current events to see which is bet for you!


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