What It’s Really Like to Run a Virtual Race

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What It's Really Like to Run a Virtual Half Marathon - Run Leelanau
Photo Credit: Marathon Training Academy

Not so long ago, I provided everyone with my thoughts about signing up for a virtual race. In November, I completed the Marathon Training Academy‘s Virtual Half Marathon.

Let me tell you about virtual races; they’re weird. Running this virtual race reminded me of the time my friend asked me,

“Why do you pay to run races? Do you realize you can just go outside and run that far for free?”

At the time, I scoffed and tried (and failed) to explain the gloriousness that is race-day. He didn’t understand, as he had never personally experienced it.

However, with a virtual race, I think I would have a more difficult time arguing against his point. I paid $40 to go run alone on the same roads I always run on. I can see why some may think that’s crazy.

Yet, I would not have run 13.1 miles that day if I was not participating in a virtual race. Though it was a rare sunny day, it was cold, windy, and the sun was setting quickly. It was also hunting season and gun shots echoed around me. I’m not currently training for anything (just wait until Mid-December. How’s that for foreshadowing?), so I didn’t need to run 13.1. But this virtual race gave me the push to hit that distance.

I had a goal to run the virtual half in under two hours, thinking that would be a piece of cake. I ran two half marathons in October, finishing both in around 1:52. Considering I was running alone, I figured my ‘race pace’ would not be quite as fast. I ended up finishing the 13.1 miles in 2:06:22. Ah!! Is my normal pace really that much slower than my race pace?! Clearly I need to look into this further.

Yeah, people may judge that I paid $40 to run alone, but people will always find a reason to judge (me, you, anyone else). The people who judge me did not run 13.1 miles after work on a Monday evening, so judge away.

So while it may be crazy to pay money to go run alone, people always say that runners are a special kind of crazy. I’m going to continue to happily embrace that. And though running real races are definitely preferred, I enjoyed my experience running this virtual race. Not to mention, I got a bomb-ass medal. It is literally the biggest medal I have ever received for a race and one of the few interactive medals I have.

What It's Really Like to Run a Virtual Half Marathon - Run Leelanau
Interactive, huge medal. I’ll take it!

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