Physical distancing has put an end to most of our usual activities. For runners, that includes the cancelation of any upcoming races. Luckily, there are alternatives that can get your heart rate up and spark your competitive side while you’re staying safe and healthy.
One option is virtual races, which can be run at a location of your choice, using one of a number of apps that track your run. Once you’ve submitted your results, you even get your resulting swag in the mail. No crowds, no designated run route, just a race against yourself and a virtual community of other runners.
Here are several virtual races coming up in April:
Aravaipa Strong Virtual Race
Aravaipa Running specialises in trail races, with runs spread throughout Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Now they are offering a virtual race, for which participants need to register by April 3. For the Aravaipa Strong Virtual Race, participants choose a distance ranging between 5K and 100 miles, with the actual run happening during the designated time period of April 17 to 26.
As organisers note, runners can break up this distance over multiple days, and are allowed to “walk, run, skip, hike, shuffle or sprint your distance; whatever is comfortable for you.” Runners are also encouraged to take photos and share them.
Bolt for the Heart Virtual 5K
Proceeds from the Bolt for the Heart Virtual 5K, which can be run between now and April 5, will help buy coffee and food for emergency rooms around Indiana. Participants who submit proof of their run will receive a finisher’s medal and race shirt in the mail.
The Isolation Run
“We get it,” says the Dirt Run Co., organisers of the Isolation Run. “Quarantine makes you want to run a race more than anything right now.” Participants in this race can run a virtual ½ marathon, full marathon or 50K between April 4-11. Submitting their results will earn them a race shirt and camp mug in the mail.
Quarantine 2020 Virtual 5K
For this race, participants can walk or run a distance of 5K anytime between now and April 30. Once finishers have emailed their proof of completion, they will get a medal in the mail. Race organisers note participants can complete this race on a “personal treadmill in your home, around the neighbourhood, down a quiet dirt road in the country, or anywhere that keeps you away from crowds.”
Quarantine Backyard Ultra
The Quarantine Backyard Ultra will be streamed live on Youtube starting on April 4 at 7 AM Mountain Time. Participants will log in using Zoom and run a loop either on a treadmill or in their neighbourhood. After each loop, runners have to show proof they actually ran it, after which period of time, everyone will run another loop until there is only person left standing. This runner will claim “The Golden Toilet Roll.”
As the organisers caution, “Running, especially at a high intensity or for exorbitantly long distances, depresses your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness,” and that “This is just for fun – we do not want this event to add any unnecessary burdens to the medical system.”
Pick your distance, sign up for the race that works for you, and start running. Just make sure to maintain a distance of six feet from other runners at all times.