Monday, March 28, 2016

Seize The Day With Virtual Racing

Photo by OHventures

What is a virtual race? 

A virtual race is one that you can customize to fit your busy lifestyle: you can run it at any location, at any day of the week, or any time of the day! You can run the whole thing outside, or use a treadmill inside. It can be almost any distance that you would like to challenge yourself with: a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon, or virtually any other distance! You can do it alone, with a friend, or with a pack of fellow runners. The sky’s the limit!

So how is this any different from going out for a casual run on a random Sunday morning, or going on a training run for an upcoming event you are participating in? One word: charity! Another word: medals!

Ohio & Erie Canal at Canal Fulton - Photo by OHventures

Essentially, a virtual run is a race you do for charity to receive a medal in the mail (or another prize of some kind). You sign up for a virtual race online (after choosing the charity or cause that is near and dear to your heart), run the race whenever or wherever you’d like, record your time, and then you will receive your award in the mail! It’s a great way to give back to charity by doing something you already enjoy doing. And, you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding a 5K in your neck of the woods to do it.

It’s true that a virtual run won’t satisfy your craving for competitiveness, the camaraderie of hundreds of other runners, or that ever-so-important swag bag of goodies and after-race bananas you get at regular races. But you still get a convenience factor and a way to support a cause you care about.

There are many websites out there that offer virtual races:
I came to find out about virtual races when a runner friend of mine posted something on Facebook. It was intriguing to me, especially given that I have a goal to run a 5K every month of 2016. March was nearing an end, and there were few days that I would be able to run a 5K, and not many that were happening in my area. So, I opted to sign up for a virtual run instead!

Photo by Virtual Strides

My virtual run was from the website Virtual Strides, and it was the “Seize The Day 5K” – which is a fundraiser to help combat epilepsy. I signed up online (just $28) and went out for my Saturday morning run on March 26 with my friends Alyce, Jamie, and Zac. We ran along the Ohio & Erie Canal in Canal Fulton, Stark County and went at a very leisurely pace – finishing our 3.1 miles in just over 30 minutes. None of my other pals were running the “Seize The Day 5K” but that didn’t matter! I went home, logged my time, and will be awaiting my awesome hot air balloon “Seize The Day” medal in the mail any day now!

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