Virtual Races-- Why Not?

In the past month, I've completed 2 virtual races. A virtual race is a race that you register for online, like a typical race. However, instead of showing up at some unbelievably early hour of the day, trying to find a parking place, fighting crowds and long porta-potty lines, you walk out your front door and run a route of your choosing at a time of your choosing.

You Should Do a Virtual Run Because...

1. You want to support a great charity. The reason I did my virtual races is because they benefitted great charities that I believe in. Financially, a portion of the virtual race entry fee goes directly to the charity AND by using their hashtag and posting on social media about your run, you help advertise that charity. Be sure to check out the organization-- some sites give a very small amount to the charity-- these are usually 3rd party sites that have cool medals and offer a variety of runs. It's better to choose an event that is sponsored by the charity directly, like the 6k for Water that I did which was hosted by World Vision or the Run for It 5k that raised funds for To Write Love on Her Arms.

2. You live in a location where there aren't many races. The beauty of the virtual race is that you can run it anywhere. You aren't required to show up at a particular location. Run it in your neighbor or even on a treadmill.

3. You need some flexibility. Most races suggest a day or range of days where you complete the race. If you happen to be sick, injured or have your kid's team make it to the playoffs, and you suddenly can't make it on the official day of the race, then you can run it later. Maybe you work non-traditional hours. A virtual race allows you to run any time of day.

4. You love bling. There are some really cool virtual race medals out there. Almost too many:
These are just a few to choose from. I don't have experience with any of these. Please research on your own.

You Should NOT Do a Virtual Race Because...
1. You will miss all the people. Yes, sometimes it's hard to find a parking spot. Yes, you have to wait in long lines for the privilege of using a "toliet" that smells like death. Yes, someone might sweat on you. But you won't see the child with a sign, waiting along the course for his mom to pass so he can cheer her on. You'll miss silver headed gentleman, shuffling along strong and slow in what must be his 100th race. You won't see the kid racing like a rocket by you running with all her might for the prize of the finish line. And you'll not hear the chatter of the women, talking about how they were inspired to get out and do their best to finish a race because someone they love can't. Or the big guy, who's in the middle of a weight loss journey, red-faced and giving his all because the alternative is unthinkable. You won't get to cross a finish line and get crushed in a bearhug by a mentally challenged man you've never seen before but whose purpose and delight is to congratulate runners, giving them a water and a hug. You won't be able to stand just before the finish line, smiling and cheering and yelling other runners into the end of their own race.

And although I'm only listing 1 reason to NOT do a virtual run, this one trumps all.


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