Virtual running has been increasing in popularity in the past few years. But what is virtual running?
Let me assure you, virtual running is still good old running. There are many opportunities to participate, but I’ll mainly focus on my experience, which has been with the Hogwarts Running Club (HRC).
HRC offers six different races per year, all Harry Potter themed, and most of the proceeds go to charity.
Disney also hosts virtual races with its Virtual Running Shorts series and more recently the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon. I haven’t personally done any of the Disney virtual runs because if I’m going to put money towards a virtual race, I want the money to be going towards charity.
So how does it work? With virtual races, you will sign up for a race and receive a medal, but it’s up to you to run the race. You can run it anytime, anywhere, and you can even split up the distance into multiple runs, making it particularly great for new runners.
The first virtual race I did was the Sirius Half Marathon with HRC. At the time I was training for my first half marathon so I wasn’t yet in a place at the time to run a whole half marathon at once. So I broke the race into multiple runs.
A quick Reddit search shows that not all runners are on board with this concept. One complaint is that when you pay for a race, you’re paying for the experience. Why pay to go run on your same old running route? That’s a valid complaint, but not an opinion I really share.
Another concern people often have is there is not really any competition with a virtual race, but I’m always in the back of the pack anyway, so again, not really an issue for me.
Virtual runs are getting a lot more people out there and being active. To some, running in a real race can be intimidating, but virtual runs take the pressure off. It’s a great way to get people interested in running, and maybe eventually runners can take over the world (insert evil laugh here).
Plus, you get that sweet bling.
Here are just a few of the medals I’ve earned so far. You definitely can’t get a Harry Potter medal at a physical race!
Another thing I love about virtual running is it builds a great community, especially with HRC. In HRC there is a giant online community and the four Hogwarts houses even compete against each other in the House Cup. Go Ravenclaw!
It’s awesome to talk to others about running and update everyone on what medal you’re in the process of earning. Being part of an online running community has been a huge motivator for me and has inspired me to push myself more than I would have before.
If you’ve never done a virtual race I recommend you try it!