Does running a 5K seem like a pipe dream to you? Maybe your friends are all doing it and you want to get in on the fun, but you’re not sure how to get started. Perhaps running with a crowd isn’t your thing just yet, but the shine and sparkle of a medal is alluring. If you’re on the “should I run a 5K” seesaw, head for neutral ground and consider running a virtual race for the best of both worlds.
What is a virtual 5K?
A virtual 5K is a race event organized by a charitable organization that allows the participants to make their run individually at the time and location of their choosing. Since you’re ‘racing’ alone, you’re on your honor to complete the 5K and share your results with the event organizers. Races have a set time frame in which they have to be run; 1 month is average. Virtual 5Ks are the most common, but 10Ks and half-marathon distances are becoming popular as well.
How does it work?
Just like any ‘real life’ race you can expect to pay a registration fee that covers your charitable donation and other expenses. After you participate, most organizations encourage runners to share photos of their races on either the event website or Facebook page. Some virtual races include printable bibs that you can wear during your run, and many even send medals to those who complete the race and share their photos.
Why should I do it?
We probably don’t have to convince you to donate to the causes that you believe in. If you’re just getting started with running and aspire to compete in regular 5Ks, virtual races are great practice because you can run the race at a time and day that you prefer, and even split up the distances if necessary. If you’re a die-hard runner already, participating in the social media aspect of the race allows you to connect with other runners from all over the world! Oh…..and did we mention the medals?
How do I find a virtual 5K?
The best way to find a virtual race is to hop onto your favorite search engine and start browsing. Use search terms that include charities or causes you want to run for. If helping the homeless is your calling, find a race in which your registration fee will be donated to a local shelter. Themed races are also popular; mustaches, tutus, Santa suits……..if it makes you laugh, there’s probably a 5K for it—virtual or otherwise.
Have you ever participated in a virtual 5K? Leave a comment below with your thoughts and experiences.