We are just about four weeks into our Safer at Home orders here in Florida. To be honest, it feels like an eternity, but we are keeping positive and looking for the end in sight. I’m grateful that we can still get outside for exercise, and it was only this week that I saw two women wearing masks while out on their daily constitutional.
And while our races are postponed, canceled or otherwise in limbo, virtual racing is, decidedly, NOT canceled.
Virtual races have not always been my thing. In the past, I registered for a few, simply because I couldn’t turn down the cause or the bling (y’all, I’m a sucker for bling). I was going to complete the miles anyway, so why not support a great movement?
Case in point.
Sadly, the Virtual Pug Runs no longer exist, but there are plenty of virtual races open to runners looking for ways to crush their goals. Even better, so many of them are free! You may not get any swag, but you can join communities of other runners, all in the same boat, and push yourself to continue training for the future.
Team Sparkle Virtual Run Series
My current favorite is the Team Sparkle Virtual Run Series. This is a completely free series of runs. Sparkle Athletic provides a weekly theme, and runners come with the distance and a healthy dose of Sparkle Spirit.
Post your Team Sparkle photo on Instagram and Facebook with the tag #teamsparklevirtualrun and join in a community of awesome athletes, running and walking with style!
You won’t get a real medal, but they will hook you up with a medal image that you can photoshop yourself. Super fun.
The Un-Canceled Project
Run The Edge offers another completely free virtual race series called The Un-Canceled Project. This is a six week series, with each week reflecting a different theme: Gratitude, Hope, Humor, Inspiration, Courage, and Compassion. Each week, registrants can run one of each distance (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, 8K, 15K, and/or Ultra) in order to load up their virtual trophy case. I am sticking to the 5Ks right now, for obvious reasons.
There are no virtual medals for these events, but there is a Facebook community where runners can share their accomplishments and support each other through running and fitness. It’s a nice group, full of really incredibly and inspiring people.
How do I benefit from virtual racing in these times?
Personally, I need all the help I can get with keeping my motivation up. While it’s incredibly ironic that I’m not missing too many events during my recovery, it would be a waste not to take advantage of what IS available. Joining these virtual racing challenges boosts my morale and makes me want to dig deep for improvement. Hitting a new pace or distance makes me want to lace up and get out there, and it’s a reminder not to skimp on my exercises or neglect my cross training.
As things continue, I plan to register for a few paid virtual races as well, to help support the race companies and causes in need of bracing in these uncertain times.
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Are you embracing the virtual racing life?
I love the Un-Cancelled Project! I also like the themes, they are very fitting during the pandemic. Great that you can do the weekly 5ks!
I agree a virtual race helps to keep the motivation up. It makes you reach out and do more than you usually would.
The themes are really appropriate and light-hearted (although some people seemed to get really upset over Humor, where they didn’t appreciate certain jokes, but that’s the internet for you).
Lisa @ Mile by Mile says
It’s so nice to have virtual race options right now, especially free ones! I wasn’t going to do any short races this spring and now I’ve ended up doing a 5k and 10k already. It’s a great way to stay motivated and connected with others!
Deborah Brooks says
I am really appreciating all the virtual race options right now more than I ever thought I would. The uncanceled series is fantastic and I love all of the different distance options
Same. It’s so nice to just have some kind of goal, even if it’s not the ideal race scenario.
Thanks for the info on virtual races. I am doing the uncanceled project 5Ks too. I like the shorter distances for virtual races. My half marathon which was canceled turned into a virtual race and I did it but it seemed just like a training run, not a race. I am going to check out the sparkle races. They look like a lot of fun!
Laurie recently posted…Celebrating the Saver; Three Objects With Special Meaning
The sparkle runs are fun just because you can dress up a little and have fun with the theme. The Sparkle Athletic community is super awesome, in my opinion and I am all on board supporting them.
Kimberly Hatting says
I’m enjoying the Un-Canceled Project series, too. I did feel guilty doing so many free virtuals, so I have started looking for worthwhile causes that have virtual races. I’m going for a Humor triple crown of sorts this week…I did the 5K on Monday, the 8K this morning and will do the 13.1 on Saturday. So far, I’ve had horrible weather and road conditions LOL The Humor theme has been most appropriate!
Awesome work on all those miles, though! I’m just taking on the 5Ks, for obvious reasons, but it’s a good motivator and I like the feeling that maybe I’ve accomplished SOMEthing. Good luck on Saturday!
Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says
I haven’t done any virtual races, but I love how so many people are embracing them and making lemonade out of this situation. I’m just coming back to running after having a baby so I didn’t have any real running goals for the spring so I’m just keeping it casual.
Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Weekly Rundown – Happy Easter
I’ll be starting from scratch on Monday (if I’m brave enough), so my goals are VERY modest right now. Take your time – no reason to rush things, especially when there’s really not much out there for which to rush.
I’ve never been a virtual runner until this nonsense. I’ve done two now. And there might be more. The problem is I can’t motivate myself to run much farther than 5 miles alone. Maybe over the summer I can do one of the longer ones!
Running alone is definitely an acquired taste. I am good either way (it’s nice to have a buddy, but it’s also nice to be by myself), and right now, I think I am happier alone as I’m a bit discouraged by having to start from scratch. I hope you won’t have to get used to the feeling of solo long runs and we can put all this behind us.
Debbie @ Deb Runs says
Oh, if I were you I wouldn’t be able to resist the Pug virtual race. I once signed up for a virtual race because it was the only way I could get the perfect Thanksgiving themed race shirt – I couldn’t find anything similar elsewhere. My comeback race has been postponed with no later date set. I’m thinking of doing a Mother’s Day virtual race instead as my comeback race – again because I like the shirt. 😉
I have every single one of those pug medals, and I was pretty sad when the organizer stopped doing them. I wish I had what it takes to be a race director, but it’s hard, expensive work, and I just don’t know if I could manage it right now, because I would be all in for this.
My comeback race has a new date in September, but I guess we will see what comes of it with everything going on.
Stacie Seidman says
Since I’m not horsing these days, I’ve been back on the treadmill. Some days I just walk two miles. Other days I do some running and walking and go a little further. But I signed up for a virtual race too, so 3.1 will happen probably this weekend. Guess I’m running again!
So sorry you’re not horsing 🙁 I know that’s hard. Yay for running again, though!
Sandra Laflamme says
I love the idea of all of these virtual races. You found some new ones that I hadn’t seen yet. I will definitely be checking all of these out!
It’s a nice backup, though not a substitute at all for the real thing. I’m grateful to have the extra accountability, though.
I’ve really enjoyed the Uncanceled Project runs. As I’m on my treadmill I’ve also stuck to the 5k runs. And 5k on my treadmill is closer to 6! I always love a good theme – and their focus on positivity is motivating. I’m glad they’ve added an 8k. I think I’ll do that on my next one.
It’s such a great series. I’ve done their challenges before, although they were paid, and I find the whole company really great and encouraging.
Yay for 8K!
Darlene S. Cardillo says
Yes yes. I never thought I would. But they are great motivators.
It’s so nice to have them.