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Virtual Runs: Yay or Nay?

It seems that lately there are more and more virtual runs taking place, whether attached to a "live" race or through a virtual race company.  I've run a few and here are my thoughts:

I Ran Rock N Roll's First Virtual Run

What is a virtual race?
A virtual race is a race that takes place any time you want it to-- some have specific distances attached to them and some leave the distance up to the runner.  They can take place on a specific day or happen over a time period (usually a week or two).  After you've completed the run, you post your information on the run's website and you're done.

What do you get?
Like live runs, every virtual run is different.  Some send you a bib, a shirt and medal.  Some give you the option of what you want to get.  Some of the race bibs are downloadable, while others are sent via mail.  Virtual races usually have a theme and can be a fun way to get fun medals.  I'm a Harry Potter fan, so I love the Harry Potter themed virtual runs of the Hogwarts Running Club.  

Why do it?
Every runner has their own reason for running virtual races.  One of the reasons I like them is for the bling-- I won't lie, I like bling.  Virtual races also help with my training schedule-- when I'm signed up for races, I tend to train more.  So they are motivational for me.  I also like that you can participate in races when you don't live in the city the race is in.  For example, San Diego's Finish Chelsea's Run has a virtual option for their 5K.  (get more information here: Finish Chelsea's Run )  It can be a great way to give back and participate in events with your running friends, no matter where they are.  

What are the cons?
For me, the only con of a virtual race is that there aren't other runners running with you (unless you run them with a group of friends) and you don't get the satisfaction of running across a finish line. 

What are your thoughts?  Have you participated in a virtual run?

Until next time, Happy Running.


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