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Virtual Running Races

Running races, whether it's a 5K, the Paris Marathon, or the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, are being canceled or postponed because of the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Runners can still enjoy the fun and communal experience of racing, however, through online running clubs and virtual races. Here are a few unique running experiences to keep you motivated and running through the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Rock 'n' Roll Virtual Running Club and Race Series

The organization that offers the Rock ‘n’ Roll race series, which has music-themed marathons to 5K events throughout the world, now offers a virtual running club and virtual races. With the Rock ‘N’ Roll Virtual Running Club, runners can track their training, get access to training and nutrition information, receive weekly challenges, and get advice from industry experts. Athletes earn points for completed challenges and races.

Through the running club, runners can also take to the starting line again, through the program’s virtual races. Athletes can complete a 19.98 mile run challenge throughout July, which commemorates the first Rock ‘n’ Roll event, held in San Diego, Calif., in 1998. Also in July is the 15K run and an 8K. Ambitious athletes can also choose to do both the 15K and 8K races in the same weekend. Interested runners can order finisher’s medals to commemorate their achievements.

Lace up your running shoes and find a virtual community of runners, challenges, and tips to help keep you motivated!

The Great American 5,000

Are you looking for a race that blends the challenge of running 5,000 miles with the scenery of a cross-country trek? The Great American 5,000, held from June 14 to Sept. 14, is a virtual team run. Teams log their miles and work their way to 5,000 cumulative miles. Each team of 12 to 24 people runs a cumulative 24 hours.

The virtual course is a cross-country run, from San Francisco to Queens, New York, with 12 states in between.

Along the way, runners will virtually pass the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State Building, and run through Yosemite National Park.

This virtual challenge has the feel of a cross-country road trip, with quirky roadside attractions highlighted on the virtual run, in addition to landmarks and national parks.

The course takes you past the Extraterrestrial Highway, the Ely Shoshone Indian Reservation, geothermal hot springs in Colorado, a Pony Express station, and on the Gummi Bear Factory Tour in Indiana, to name just a few of the virtual stops.

Gather your team, get fit, and see the country while staying safe at home!

Run With Character

From “Home Alone,” to Grumpy Cat, to Garfield-themed races, Run With Character, a virtual race series, aims to connect fitness with people’s favorite online, TV, and movie characters.

The races offered change periodically. Currently, you can choose one, or all three, “Home Alone”-themed races, including Kevin's AHHHHHHHHHH 5K, the Home Alone McAllister House 10K, and the Home Alone Little Nero’s Pizza Challenge 9.3 mile race. Virtual races include swag to keep you motivated. The 9.3-mile race comes with a medal, two pins, a hat, a Home Alone Toothbrush, a Little Nero’s pizza challenge themed pizza box delivered to your door, and a downloadable race bib.

For the Home Alone series, $1 of each entry is donated to a children’s charity. Unlike some other virtual races, participants can run or walk the race at any time.

The Wizard Run

Harry Potter fans can recreate the storybook magic with The Wizard Run, a Midwestern race series with physical and virtual running options. Participants can pick from 5K or one-mile fun run distances.

Their virtual races can be run from at any time, or in any place, that the participant chooses. All participants receive a shirt in the color of their choice, a finisher medal, a custom wand, and a race bib.

While many gyms may remain closed and races throughout the world are canceled, you don’t have to let your running goals slide! Print your race bib, put on your race shirt, and push yourself to compete with a virtual race.


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