We started the new year facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases climbed, borders closed, flights canceled, and governments mandated social distancing. People were left to adjust their routines and habits during these difficult times. Just like videoconference took the place of in-person meetings, and Netflix replaced weekend outings, road races turned into virtual runs. Social distancing had canceled many plans and routines for months. Large gatherings are not likely to return for a long time considering the pandemic’s ongoing impact. Road races fall into that category and leave runners with very few options – virtual races being one of them. They are not new but gaining popularity with the cancellation of live events. Even before the pandemic, there was a large community of runners who participated in virtual races. Now, more people are participating in virtual runs and using technology to connect runners worldwide. As a community, we have adapted in so many ways during these times. Virtual races are another way that we are adapting, and they provide a few benefits:
- Motivation. A road race gives you something to work towards and a reason to train. During a pandemic, maintaining a routine is essential, and a virtual race can offer that same motivation to train and get in shape. Check out how a member of the Inspire Virtual Runs community embraced virtual runs, Virtual Runs: The New Normal?
- Flexibility. Run where you want, when you want. You choose the day and time that is convenient for you. Map out your race route and run it. Road or treadmill – it’s up to you! You can run it alone or with friends and family (of course, following social distancing rules). You can also use an activity tracker to verify your distance and time.
- Ease. Virtual races are a lot like in-person road races. The main difference is that you are not racing in large crowds. There is no fuss and no long registration lines. There is also the added benefit of social distancing and staying safe. Technology has even made it easier to bring runners together. Check out the NY Times article on virtual races, With Pandemic Keeping Them Apart, Runners Embrace Virtual Races.
The number of runners and virtual races is increasing due to the growing popularity and pandemic. There are many benefits compared to live events, and technology is making it easier for runners to stay connected from a distance. Virtual races allow runners to maintain their health and well-being and stay motivated during a time where live events are limited.
Inspire Virtual Runs is a running community dedicated to inspiring your first race or next.