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Going Virtual With Races

Offer runners the opportunity to choose their own starting line by providing a virtual race option. A majority of charities are opting to host a virtual run or to have a virtual run component in addition to their event. A virtual race is the ideal option for runners that want the convenience of running at home. So, what exactly is a virtual run, and should you host one?

A virtual run is a run where participants set up their own course, whether it’s a trail nearby or a treadmill. It doesn’t matter when the participant runs, as long as they run the specified distance and send in their results. The flexibility is an added incentive for people to join. They can decide when to start, and they don’t have to deal with crowds, unpredictable weather, or parking. If they live too far away or have recently been injured, virtual running still allows them the option to participate in the event.

So should you host one?

This is entirely up to you. You could host a virtual race, a physical event, or you could hold a hybrid of the two. As with any event, there are a couple of things you have to consider. The most prominent being that there is a certain level of trust involved if you are awarding medals. Remember, you are going off of self-reported numbers. Runners in virtual races have the primary focus of trying to raise money for a good cause or to have fun. Don’t stress yourself out too much over their self-timed reports.

Another downside of a virtual race is it doesn’t offer the same level of commitment or camaraderie that many runners enjoy on race day. Without a physical place to attend, the runner can easily opt out of the race. Runners may also miss chatting with other participants. The social aspect of a race is huge, and something virtual races can’t provide. An online community where runners can share stories about their runs or exchange advice about the event could help assuage the lost socialization that a physical event thrives on.


Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not you decide to host a virtual race. Many race directors prefer a virtual race because it’s less expensive to host, but it could result in less participation over time. With many casual runners enjoying the flexibility that an online race provides, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give it a shot in conjunction with your next physical race. The new technological age is upon us! For all we know, virtual running very well could be the future of running.


About Innovative Timing Systems, LLC: Innovative Timing Systems, LLC is a privately-owned company, providing leading-edge sports timing solutions and race timing services through a network of over 500 locations around the world. ITS provides advanced chip technologies, race kiosks, large athlete displays, live web updates, automated race photos, social media integration and mobile apps. Founded in 2008, ITS is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri and has sales, support, and engineering facilities in numerous locations around the world.

About ITS YOUR RACE: ITS YOUR RACE is the leader in online event management. An all-inclusive endurance event platform, ITS YOUR RACE offers easy registration and results with custom features including sponsorships, advertising opportunities, GPS tracking, athlete photos, finisher certificates, fundraising, and more. Over 10,000 events have chosen ITS YOUR RACE.

Innovative Timing Systems is a registered trademark of Innovative Timing Systems, LLC. RaceTimes is a trademark of Innovative Timing Systems, LLC.

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