Taking part in a running event, whether it be a 5k fun run or an ultra-marathon through a desert (yes these exist!) has to be one of the best ways to keep your training on track. It gives you a goal to strive for, pushes your limits of what you thought possible and teaches you much more about yourself than you ever expected.
But life's complicated and we're busier than ever so what do we do if we can't fit all these fun events around our every day "adulting"? Well virtual races could be the perfect solution.
We caught up with Susan, founder of Virtual Runner UK, to get the low-down on the rising phenomenon in running.. virtual races.
So Susan, for those who have not come across Virtual Running before and might be tempted to assume it involves wearing virtual reality glasses, can you briefly explain what it is?
Virtual Running is an event (generally running, but often includes walking, cycling, swimming and other sports) which you can complete in your own time and at your own pace. You complete the event as you would a live race, but without the pressures of having to travel to a start line at a particular time or running with many others. There is always a medal incentive and who doesn't love a good medal, right?
And how do the logistics of it work? How do people prove that they have taken part in a race?
In order to claim your medal, you have to prove you have completed the race. We accept many forms of proof including GPS data from watches, devices and apps. We make it really easy to upload your information into your own Virtual Runner account and once we approve your submission we get your medal on the way and add you to our results table.
We've seen some of the medals you give out and they are simply amazing but there's more to Virtual Running than just the bling, can you tell us a little about the charity element? You've already raised so much for many amazing causes!
Medals play a huge part in virtual running, but as you mention we also donate to charity as part of every race entry fee. In the almost 4 years we've been running (no pun intended), we have raised over £250,000 for various causes. And we have a target to double this too!
Thanks so much Susan and one final question, do you have a particular medal that holds a special place in your heart?
Oh wow, there are so many! We recently organised an event after the tragic events in Manchester - this one will always hold a special place in my heart. The support that the Virtual Runner community showed was amazing and we raised close to £50,000 in this event alone. Don't think I will ever forget the emotions I felt during this time. I have other favourites - including the first bespoke medal we produced for example. We have a great reputation for good quality medals that stand out, so keep an eye on www.virtualrunneruk.com for what we have on offer next to motivate you out of the door!
Are you missing working towards a race due to a busy schedule? Now you've got no excuses!