Virtual Races = Motivation

Since our previous posts Why I Run For Boston and Running Mad, Alice and Wonderland Themed Virtual, we've had many questions about our virtual races so we thought we would post this.

Even though we are not extremely new to running/racing we are fairly new to the social media arena and a year ago if you would have asked us what a virtual race was neither of us could probably tell you.  Since becoming involved with FB, Pinterest, and blogging, we’ve seen many mentions of these virtual races. Being the sleuth that I am, I did some research because I wanted to learn more.  Afterall, I couldn’t believe that you would just receive a medal just because you said you were going to do something (run).   So here is what I found out about these races.

   It’s virtual, so you don’t have to attend an actual race with other runners. You can do it from the comfort of your own neighborhood, your favorite running trail, or on your treadmill.  However, it would be more fun to get a running buddy or a running group to do these types of runs with.

  You track your own mileage. Some virtual races will let you choose which distance you want to run (5K, 10K, or half marathon) and other races are already a set distance like 26.2 miles ( This was the distance for the Boston Remembrance Run). I easily tracked the miles I ran each day using my Garmin, and then transferring that distance to my calendar.  When your mileage is completed you will send it to the race coordinator. Some have a website you will log into to track your miles. Each race is done differently so you would have to check with the person sponsoring it.

Some virtual races give you a block of time in which the total distance should be complete. For example they may say a virtual race is for 26.2 miles and you have from August 1st to August 7th to complete it. Others may say their virtual race is only for a 5k and it must be complete on such and such a day.  If you have an actual race planned for one of the days that falls with in your virtual race window, guess what? Those miles count!  Virtual races are great to do in conjunction with some of those smaller local races that don’t give out finisher medals ( you know which ones I mean).  You get to log miles and you eventually get a medal for your effort. It’s a win- win!

·         Like actual races, there is still a registration fee.  The proceeds from the race generally go to a charity. For example, the proceeds from the Boston Remembrance run went to the Boston One Fund. In most cases the registration fee for a virtual run is much cheaper than an actual race registration and in some cases the medal is even nicer!

·         That’s right, you get a medal!  Medals are usually themed according to the race.  The Boston Remembrance Run medal was a replica of the Boston strong ribbon, and the Running Mad virtual through MRTT (moms run this town), was a silhouette of Alice, the Mad Hatter and their wonderland friends. Some races will also have a bib that you can print out. So you may not get any snazzy race pictures of you crossing the finish line, but you will have a bib if you like to put something in your running scrapbook.

Why I think virtual races are cool.

It’s easy to find races in the spring and then again in the fall, but races are not very plentiful in the summer.  I’ve signed up for two virtual races this summer to keep myself motivated and accountable for my mileage. Somedays  it’s so easy to put off a run, but when I know I have to do so many miles each day to reach my goal for a virtual it motivates me more. 

Before virtual racing, I’ve never kept track of how many miles I ran in a week or month. I would save my distance on my device ( watch, i-pod, etc) but never did anything with it. Since virtual racing I’ve recorded all of my miles on my paper calendar ( yes I still use one of those).   I am proud to say that I’ve completed 70.58 miles in the month of June.  That may not be a lot for some people, but I am just happy that I’ve stayed motivated and remembered to keep track!  These virtual races have definitely helped. The virtual races run off the honesty system ( haha  get it,”Run” off the honesty system, I didn’t even mean to do that), but believe me you’ll want to reach your goal.  Besides, who wants to display a medal they didn’t rightfully earn?

So how do you get involved with one of these races?   There are many people out there that are doing virtual races and what not.  I’ll share a few of my favorites ( in no particular order).

image from fit4life
Fit 4 Life: These folks have an actual race series. We just finished up the Boston Run, and they’ve also hosted a Father’s Day virtual and an Armed Forces virtual (this medal was beautiful).  The rest of the summer race series include Freedom to Run, Dog Days of Summer, and back to School.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with for Fall/Winter.  I sense there may be a Christmas themed race in here…(hint, hint, @ Fit 4 Life) you can learn more about Fit 4 Life Summer Series here.

image from usroadrunning
US Road Running:   In addition to hosting some actual races, like the Movie Madness, these folks at US Road Running host the Get out and Run Program.  This is a great goal program for both beginner runners and advanced runners who are training for their next big event.  There is a new medal each month in which you chose the distance you want to race, 5k, 10k, and half marathon.  There is some great bling over here so you should definitely check it out ! Get out and run program

virtual race
MOMS RUN THIS TOWN (MRTT): This organization includes us dog mommas too! In the past MRTT have sponsored a Winter virtual ( Winter Runnerland) and a Summer Virtual ( Running Mad).  As a mother’s day gift I signed my mom and I up for this virtual and we chose to do the 10K run. 

I know there are a lot of other charities floating around out there that are doing virtual races. Even some that are “Disney” themed.  What’s that about a glass slipper virtual?  And I know there’s something out there about a Dopey virtual.  If you have a link to any virtual races, please share it below in the comments.
I should also add that if you are looking to mix things up a bit or work on your cross training, there are some virtual races that are bike races.

What are your thoughts on virtual races? Have you ever done one?

Do you have a link or know of any virtual races coming up?  Please share!


  1. I love virtual runs! I don't have the ability to run organized races (though I did get to run a 10k at the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati...that was so much fun). I am involved with Fit 4 Life and US Road Running and love their organizations. they have kept me running all summer :)

    1. Nice to see another member of Fit 4 Life and US Road Running! They really are great organizations! ( Congrats on the flying pig 10K)

  2. I have never done a virtual race before, but I definitely will in the future! I think it's a great way to keep people motivated!!

    1. If you do one please keep these organizations in mind! Virtuals are really a great way to stay motivated in the "off" season!

  3. This girl raises money for some great charities and she recently had a few Alice in wonderland runs with BEAUTIFUL medals, honestly some of the nicest looking ones I've seen. She also emails you race bibs and you can post finish times and pictures if you like on the Facebook page after the race.
    All the races are currently sold out (some of them for the second time) but yesterday she put up a wait list for anyone who would be interested in the races and she might open them up again if she gets enough interest (which I can't imagine her not) I can't wait to see what other races she puts out

  4. Thank you for writing about US Road Running!