It can be difficult to stay motivated at the moment and if you’re feeling that way then don’t worry. You’re definitely not alone! With in-person races not on the calendar in the UK for at least a few more weeks, things are a little uncertain. The weather is a bit up and down, you can only run the same old routes over and over…
If you’re feeling like this, a virtual race may help to cure your running fatigue. Loads of real life races have turned virtual over the past year. And they’re a great way to feel like you’re doing something a bit different than just going for yet another run around the block. Personally, I haven’t been that keen for virtual races. But now that the real life races are on the horizon, the excitement is building. And I’m feeling more enthusiastic to pin on a race bib in any form!
From the super flexible ‘run when you want’ ones and novelty runs to the more traditional race style events, there’s something for everyone. Virtual races probably won’t quite match up to running the in-person London Marathon, being cheered on by thousands of spectators. But it can be a great way to feel like you’re still a part of the running community, and the nudge you might need to push yourself a little.
If you need an extra bit of motivation – give this episode of the Cook Eat Run podcast a listen, Mark’s enthusiasm for virtual races is infectious!
I’ve rounded up a few that are taking place spring for you to take a look at… (pics from when I took part in the Tel Aviv virtual 5K a couple of weeks ago!)
The Best Virtual Running Races This Spring
Ultra X #Dawn2Dusk
In this team event, you and two friends will cover as many miles as possible between you within a 12 hour window (6am to 6pm on Saturday 13th March) as a team of three. There are different coloured wristbands awarded depending on the distance covered. So you can set yourself a team target, from less than 50km up to 250km (only a casual 84km each…). But you can run as much or as little as you want, so there’s no pressure!
I love the fact that this is a team race. It’s a great way to do something with your friends that isn’t a Zoom quiz! You can cover your miles outside or on a treadmill. Which is a good option to get some more miles in if restrictions make it difficult to do so outside – Peloton party anyone!? I’m actually signed up for this in a team with fellow BQ chasers, Kirsty and George.
13th March, £21.50pp
St Patrick’s Day Virtual Race
It wouldn’t really be a virtual race round up without some kind of novelty would it? The organisers of this St Patrick’s Day race are asking you to ‘wear your shamrocks with pride. And dress up in green’ as you run your chance of distances from 1km to half marathon. You have ten days to do the distance and there are discounted entries for families. So this could be a fun one to do if you have kids. There’s a St Patrick’s themed medal for all finishers – the next best option to celebrate given the pubs are shut?
12th March – 21st March, £7.50-£15
Runderwear Festival Of Running
Taking place over Easter weekend, this virtual running weekend gives you the option of running 5km, 10km or a Half Marathon. It’s all about trying to build some of that collective positivity that’s such a big part of in-person races so there’s a big focus on interacting as a community.
There will be live interviews and discussion forums in the run up, plus content from Team Runderwear ‘Race Leaders’. You get a free training plan from coach Tom Craggs to help you run your best on the day, and you’ll get a wooden medal for completing your distance. Perfect if your race bling collection is looking a bit sparse at the moment!
2nd – 4th April, £12
Parkinson’s UK Time to Run
This challenge from Parkinson’s UK charity asks you to nominate your Parkinson’s hero (that could be someone who’s suffering, or people working to help others) then attempt to run 50 miles in 50 days. Starting on Monday 1st March, aiming to raise £50 along the way. If you’re somebody who’s been affected by Parkinson’s in any way, this is a really nice virtual event that’ll get you logging some consistent miles while raising money for a fantastic cause at the same time!
1st March – 19th April, £5
Run England Virtual Marathon 2021
If you’ve got a marathon on your bucket list and have some spare time on your hands right now, it could be the perfect time to train for one. This virtual marathon is ongoing throughout the year. Meaning you can run anytime during 2021. And that’s the best thing about virtual races. What you miss out on in crowd support, you make up for with flexibility. Do it on any day you like, at whatever time suits you, right from your front door. Not a morning person? No worries, just start at midday.
Everybody who registers will be sent a bespoke medal, a technical long sleeve top (ideal for winter training) plus some goodies from Kendal Mint Co.
Anytime in 2021, £25
Have you signed up for any virtual races?