I am so excited to be hosting one of my running idols here today! I first heard about Jill at Fitbloggin 14–then we met at Women Get Social and then least I ran into her during the Philadelphia Half Marathon and literally kissed her while running. Warning to all of you: if I see you in a race I might be puckering up. HA! Anywho Jill is hosting an amazing Virtual Run and she is here today to tell you why YOU should run one too!
Why A Virtual Run Should Be On Your Race Calendar
Have you ever found yourself waking up before dawn on a weekend morning, stumbling around in the dark trying to find your running gear, make coffee, and locate your car keys – all so you can drive to a freezing cold race site and stand in line for 20 minutes to pee? And then wonder why you PAID for the privilege to run 3.1 miles with 5000 strangers, your only prize at the end a free banana and a water bottle?
If this sounds familiar, you might be a race addict.
(It’s OK. You’re in good company. There are a lot of us out there.)
Running races is a lot of fun – despite the pain-in-the-neck aspects like getting up super-early, shivering your booty off while you wait for the starter’s gun, and having to wait in long lines for a cold, smelly Port-a-Potty.
That moment of crossing the finish line and realizing you achieved your goal (and of course posting your finish line pictures on Facebook!!!) is worth the effort – all of your hard training paid off, week after week of faithfully following the Couch to 5K app and choosing to go out for a run after work instead of happy hour. It was tough, but you did it! Now, where did I park the car again?
Here’s the good news: There IS an easier way.
The best of both worlds, a virtual race gives you all of the pride of accomplishment and bragging rights, without the hassles of an in-person event.
Here’s are my top four reasons to incorporate virtual racing into your schedule:
Most 5K races that you do in person don’t give you much more for crossing the finish line than a free banana and a cotton t-shirt (which is usually a men’s cut and fits your curves as well as a cardboard box). A virtual race almost always rewards you with a beautiful finisher’s medal:
Which you can then add to your collection. And if you’re like me, that collection is hanging loud and proud in your living room as a constant reminder of your accomplishments (you can’t do that with a free banana).
#2: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Unless you live in a major metropolitan area (like Nellie!!), it’s unlikely that you’ll find many races that start within walking distance of your front door. Which means, of course, that you’ll need to get up extra early, drive yourself there (or take public transportation), look for parking, and drag your stuff to the gear check table – all before you even line up for the race! With a virtual race, you run it where and when you want – in your local park, on a treadmill, around your neighborhood – it’s all good. My favorite place to run virtual races is on a trail near my house – it’s not crowded, there are public bathrooms (with actual sinks, soap, and hand-dryers!), there’s never an issue with finding parking, and of course the scenery is lovely:
#3: YOUR RACE, YOUR PACE
Racing can be intimidating, especially for brand new runners. There are hundreds, even thousands, of experienced people at these events, and all of them seem to know exactly what they’re doing. And when that starting gun is fired? Everyone takes off like a shot, leaving you in the dust. Some races even have time limits, and if you fall too far behind you’ll have the sweep van riding your tail, possibly even giving you a chauffeured ride directly to the finish line. Not making the pace cutoff can be a big disappointment, particularly if you’ve put a lot of time into training for your race.
Not so with a virtual race! There is no time limit, which means you can take as long as you like to complete your event – and still be eligible for that gorgeous finisher’s medal. A virtual race has all the dignity, all of the bragging rights, and none of the pitfalls of running in a huge crowd:
- No stampede of people trying to get ahead.
- Your toes won’t get stomped on by someone who cuts in front of you without looking.
- You won’t be expected to choke down Gatorade from a paper cup,
- No slipping on someone’s discarded Gu packet.
- You won’t get passed by a 75-year old grandmother pushing a double running stroller.
- You’ll get your finisher’s medal no matter what.
#4: CHOOSE YOUR CHARITY
Almost all races, in-person or virtual, have a charity fundraising partner. The problem is, if you have a special cause that you want to donate to through your running efforts, but there isn’t a local race that supports that organization, you’re out of luck.
Not so with a virtual race! All you have to do is Google the term ‘virtual race’along with whichever charity, cause or organization you want to support, and you’re highly likely to find an event that meets your needs – without having to travel or rearrange your schedule.
Personally, my favorite group to support is Girls on the Run (link to www.girlsontherun.org), an organization that teaches girls important life skills like trying your best, standing up for yourself and developing healthy friendships, and the Rock Your Curves Virtual 5K (link to www.RWCVirtualRace.com) going on right now donates $5 for each registration directly to this worthy cause.
Jill Angie is a virtual race director, running coach, personal trainer and author who wants to live in a world where everyone is free to feel fit and fabulous at any size. She started the Running With Curves (link to RunningWithCurves.net) movement in 2013 to show that runners come in all shapes, sizes and speeds, and since then has assembled a global community of revolutionaries that are taking the running world by storm.