Let’s talk about virtual race pros and cons and how you can earn a medal. Running and racing give a great feeling of accomplishment and realizing what you are capable of doing. But with races being canceled, a Virtual race is the next option to still feel the spirit, the highs, and the lows of joining a running event.

Disclaimer: This post contains links to an affiliate website or links to an Amazon shop. As an affiliate member, I will earn from qualifying purchases made by you at no additional cost ever. I appreciate the purchase you made. Read my disclosure.

A virtual running race is not a new concept, it’s been around for quite a while now. But the idea of racing virtually is something that has been really embraced since the start of the year because of the pandemic situation. 

Girl running in NY for Virtual Race Pros and Cons


Many races are canceled and being rescheduled, how to run virtual race pros and cons will give you insights on what is a virtual race, how to run a virtual race, its advantages and disadvantages, how you can earn a medal, and should you participate.

I recently wrote an article about race cancellations and what do runners do and what they think about it, you can give it a read and know the insights of athletes.

A lot of major marathons and other big race organizers have opted for the idea of virtual race. Since many runners are in the midst of actually training despite their official races being canceled a virtual race is something that can still be done at a runner’s own time and pace except only for the Boston marathon in which participants of the virtual race are those who only qualified in the official race. 

Cool Must Haves For Your Run

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07PVD6DT7&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=therunningbak 20&language=en USir?t=therunningbak 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B07PVD6DT7
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00JF9EA1C&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=therunningbak 20&language=en USir?t=therunningbak 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B00JF9EA1C
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00BZA22BE&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=therunningbak 20&language=en US

Recently I have signed up with a few virtual races since I regularly run despite not having an official race that has been canceled. I” ll put the link below if you are interested to join. It actually comes with a BIB that you can print and wear during your run.

What is Virtual Race?

A virtual race is an online race event organized for runners or enthusiasts who are willing to run by completing the set distance and within the time frame covered in the virtual race. Depending on the organizers the time frame can be set on a specific date,  within a week or within a month.

A certain amount of money needs to be paid in the virtual race in exchange for goodies such as a medal, shirt, and maybe other extra merchandise. But before they can send you these items when you run make sure to record your activity using a running app and submit to the organizers or if you are already using a running app just select it into the race event dashboard and sync your details.

There are virtual races that doesn’t require you to pay anything at all. All you have to do is sign up online, run the distance required, and sync with your app or submit with the running event and still can earn you a badge that will be visible in your dashboard.

Virtual Race Pros and Cons



1. No Rush

Most races require you to wake up early and prepare but with a virtual race, you can set your run depending on your schedule as long as it’s within the time frame allotted. You can definitely plan what time you will wake up for the virtual race.

It is also dependent on the distance of your virtual run. If it’s more than 13.1mi proper planning is still necessary depending on your location. It is not good to run in the middle of the day if it’s too hot or early morning when it’s still foggy and super cold.

2. Choose Your Route

It doesn’t matter where you run. You can choose a scenic spot to enjoy and have fun, take photos along your route. If it’s a long-distance and you are not a fan of running in loops then try visualizing your route.

3. No Time Limit

You can run, you can walk, and you can crawl but definitely don’t stop until you finish the virtual race. Actual races have time limits because it involves a lot of factors like traffic and logistics. But with virtual race, run at your own time and pace.

If you are not on the competitive side, just have fun finishing the virtual course and tag your friends let them sign up too and run together.

4. Saves You Money

This kind of running event saves you money from traveling, hotel booking, and buying new running gear because no expo to visit. Organizers don’t need to hire support crew so you’ll just have to pay for the goodies you wanted to have or opt-out and make a donation for a charity they are endorsing.

5. Keep The Running Spirit High

You have a marathon that has been canceled, but you are already in the middle of your training, just use this time and continue to reach your goal. You can aim for a PB (personal best) or a new PR (personal record).

Ask your family and friends to be your support crew, most marathons have come up with a virtual running tool kit that you can print. From breaktape, cheer-cards, start and finish line and mile or km marker it’s time to be creative with this.

6. Good Start For Beginners

If you are not yet convinced with my 10 ways to motivate yourself to run. Then sign up for a virtual running event and plan your run in accomplishing it. If you are just picking up running it’s a good start for you to have fun and earn a medal.No pressure too when it comes to your finishing time.

Now that we have discussed the advantages let’s talk about the virtual race drawbacks.


1. Missing Runcation

Runcation is when you are able to enjoy running and racing while having a vacation at the same time. It saves time and cost in planning and getting a tour guide because you can actually plan out to run the places you wanted to visit.

Making an itinerary for your running and vacation trip is so much fun when you can include shakeout run or recovery run in the places you wanted to visit.

2. Missing Race Photo Emotions

Admit it we all have that race photo captured that we don’t look good especially if we didn’t see the photographer or we decided we don’t care anymore.

Then you realize the story behind that face and reaction. Its those pure and real emotions being captured that brings us back to that race memories and even if it can be exhausting definitely it’s worth running and repeating all over again.

Rome HM -unsplash-race emotions


3. Bring Your Own Hydration

Bring your own hydration and fuel food. If it’s just a 5k or 10k hydration and food is not a problem but when you talk about running a half or full virtual marathon then you definitely need a hydration backpack, energy gels, and some chocolates.

I remember running the Nagoya marathon where there’s plenty of food handed by volunteers from candies, chocolates, pieces of bread, and drinks. You really won’t get hungry running the distance.

4. Missing Crowd

No cheering crowd and spectators, even if the weather is hot, cold or its raining it doesn’t matter with the crowd. They are there to cheer for you and give you a boost and power tap to get you going.

Virtual race pros and cons- cheering man
this guy made us all smile while running Chicago Marathon

You will definitely enjoy the spectators in full costume, a band singing while you pass them. They also put the effort in preparing some food to give to runners and in the Chicago marathon, they offer wine too. 

5. Not Having A Fair Route

Training in hot weather and running in autumn weather will definitely earn you some PB and PR. Something that is really enjoying is running in a cold-weather where you run faster and just sweat a little because the weather can drop sometimes.

The terrain and the view difference is a second factor. When everything you see is new to you like the Altstadt (oldtown) and cobblestones of Frankfurt it is really fun looking around appreciating the landmarks and architecture of the buildings.

6. No Pasta Night

The fun of carboloading, pasta night, runner interactions and EXPO. Enjoying food, meeting other runners, meeting your idol in 7.person are great experiences the night or day before the race. You hear different stories of other runners and where they come from. 

Though it saves you money, looking around the EXPO even if you don’t plan of buying anything is still good because they offer a lot of freebies free beer, balms, and other tokens.

7. Missing Competition

Last but not the least and how could I miss out this one, thanks to my good friend for pointing this out. You know when you are nearing the finish line and there’s someone running beside you and how much you wanted to outrun him so you run faster and reach the finish line first and how it felt good.

Apparently runners have a competitive side in a good way they use it as an act of motivation and pushing it to the limit.

Here’s a list of races that you can still sign up and join the fun.

  1. Abott Global Run Club – whether it’s 2.62 or 26.2 you will surely have fun participating with the 6 Major Marathons and print out the free bib. I just finish the Berlin virtual run and ready for my next virtual race.
  2. TCS New York City Marathon (run for the medal) – register and run between Oct 17 – Nov 1 , 2020 (entry fee $50 (members) and $60 non-members) to earn your NY marathon medal.
  3. Run Disney Event – if you are a Star Wars fan sign up with their upcoming virtual half marathon. You still have plenty of time to prepare for the virtual race event.
  4. Turkey Trot Virtual 5K – with Thanksgiving coming soon, this virtual 5K is fun to do with your family and friends.
  5. Oktoberfest Virtual Fun – run for a cause and enjoy at the same time. This event has 10% donations of all entry fees for each event to a chosen charity. 

Now that you have insights on virtual race pros and cons I would say whether you are new to running or a regular runner you can already gauge if virtual runs are for you.

You don’t have to sign up in every virtual race or marathon. Just select a few and enjoy participating, tag along your friends for a more fun experience.

Whether your goal is to be fit, pick up running for the first time, or continue training it is always a good idea to prioritize your fitness and don’t forget to practice safety at all times. I hope you enjoy reading Virtual Race Pros and Cons.

Related Running Articles

Virtual Medal for Virtual Race Pros and Cons

Sharing is caring!


  1. I quit running when I got pregnant and I never started again. Reading this, I realize I miss it and you just motivated me to start again. And these virtual races are a big motivator! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Love the guy in Chicago’s sign! I’ve not done much running for a few years although I have done a half marathon in the past. Not sure I’d do that distance now but I’m definitely interested in a 5k or 10k. Food for thought ?

  3. I am a new runner and just made it to my 8 mile mark. Having no races to show up for has definitely made it harder in making sure I am holding myself accountable to my plan. It sure is easier to keep running when I am motivated by larger races (not virtual). Great read!

    1. Thanks Chelsea, glad you like it! 8mi is a great progress! You can try different running apps I recommend Strava for their challenges and Zombie run app which is interactive( Best running apps without mobile data). Happy Running!

  4. I started doing the Couch to 5k this lockdown hoping I will fall in love with running but England is too cold to run for me. Maybe this virtual option will give me the push I need!

    1. Hi Laia hopefully you will 🙂 earning a medal can help as an extra motivation. You can also try using the zombie app (Best Running Apps Without Mobile Data) which I made a review its a fun running app. Happy Running!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *