Virtual Run Got Real
Spectacular Opening Act
What a start to 2016! I managed to survive 5 mixed bags of highlight events in the first month of January, and live to write about them all – KL New Year Run 10km, Compressport Trail Run 12km, MPI Generali Run 10km, Straco XC MTB Jamboree 46km, Warrior Trail 25 Obstacles + 10km.
All these events, except for MPI Generali, were first-time events; and I was impressed by how well all the 5 events were managed and I hope there will be a second edition soon so that more people have the opportunity to experience these unique & value-for-money sporting events in case they had missed the first one.
What Happens Next?!
How do I follow-up on such a awesome start to 2016, especially since February normally is a slow month in the running calendar? Then, my friend, Idayu of IH Events, gave me an unexpected solution, “Gus, why not register for the Virtual Run Monthly Challenge?”. A lightbulb flashed in my head, and I asked her, “ You mean, I can run without running?!”. To be honest, I was clueless to what all this hype surrounding Virtual Runs was about. Then, after hearing Idayu’s explanation, my next question was, “Where do I sign-up?”.
If you have not heard about Virtual Runs, let me share with you what it is about and how it can enhance your running game. Essentially, a Virtual Run allows a runner to remotely join in a running event from any location, and at any time or day which suit the Virtual Runner schedule. Confused? Let me clarify further. Let’s say, you want to join a particular running event, but unfortunately, the event day clashes with another important appointment which you had fixed earlier. If that running event organiser has a Virtual Run option, then you can still earn and receive the event T-shirt and finisher medal through the post, as long as you run a predetermined distance ANYWHERE over a given timeframe which is typically one month. The Virtual Run details such as registration fees, runner’s entitlements, required distance, running tracking methods, and timeframe will vary from event to event, and they are to be determined in advance by the organiser.
Extra Training Motivation
Once I registered for Virtual Run Monthly Challenge (VRMC) 100km Holiday Series, every time, I go for a run in February, I log my running data using Strava. Then, each time, I complete my run, whatever the distance, I send my Strava running activity information to the organiser IH Events by gmail or post it on their official VRMC 100km Holiday Series FB page. At the end, after verifying that I have hit my challenge target 100km, IH Event will post me my event T-shirt and medal. Of course, Runners using GPS watches can send their running data to the organiser in the same way for official distance recording purposes. So far, being a Virtual Runner has transformed my lackluster training routines into fun and exciting episodes. Surprisingly, I had never expected that the draw of earning a Tee & Medal could have motivated me as much as it has done during training sessions. Maybe this was just the right tonic that I needed to uplift my spirits, keep me focused and subsequently, improve my training performances. I will reserve my final judgement until end of February. Meantime, I must remind myself not to spend too much time counting mileage, and instead, I should enjoy every step of my virgin virtual experience.
Virtual vs Real Running
Certainly, Virtual Runs will NEVER replace the electric atmosphere of actual running events. However, Virtual Runs can be useful for Runners who cannot physically be present at certain events, as well as for Runners, like myself, who want to boost their training mileage by giving themselves extra incentives in the form of attractive T-shirts and medals. If you fancy a 100km or 50km Virtual Challenge in February, you have until 15th February 2016 to REGISTER !
About The Author
Gus is the Founder of Running Toons and he is passionate about endurance sports. As a writer, he has contributed numerous insightful articles to The Star newspaper, Running Malaysia magazine, Cycling Malaysia magazine, Cycling Evolution magazine, Swim Bike Run magazine and more. LIKE Happy Runner and follow gusghani @Instagram.