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The advantages and disadvantages of the emerging virtual races

April 30, 2020
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Yours truly in training
Having canceled or postponed their events, some marathons, like the Ottawa Marathon, have offered the runners who had registered for their races an opportunity to run it virtually wherever they will be; record their runs on the available online running applications and forward their results to the race organizers.
In such times as these when there are no races around, most of the runners will find themselves easily postponing their daily runs, perhaps deciding to pause running for a while, or even eventually ending up stopping running completely in the end.

However, when one is preparing for a virtual race, they may be compelled to keep training towards their race goals.

Below are some of the pros and cons to the virtual races:


1. It helps motivate runners to keep training and stay in good form.

What motivates most runners to train hard is their ambition to run good times in their upcoming races. Now, with the absence of real races, runners still have something to look forward to and to keep them preparing to run good times.

2. Runners save money on transport and registration fees.

To participate in their favorite marathon races, runners would need to travel and book accommodations in the host cities. With the virtual races, the money for the air tickets will be put into other uses and the runners still get to contribute to worthy causes supported by the races.

3. It connects the running community

With the virtual races, the running community can still be connected to one sporting event. There will still be conversations about a particular marathon among runners across the world.

4. Training will not go to waste

Runners have been training towards their goal races all along. When they got canceled, the virtual races came with some relief that their training would not go to waste as they will still get a chance to have their performances kept in the records.

5. There is flexibility on start times

Most of the virtual races give runners the flexibility to start their races at their convenient times. Some even have window periods of up to a month. One can choose the best day with the ideal weather to run rather than hoping for ideal race conditions on the fixed race times.

6. No long queues to use the toilets before the race

One of the common challenges that runners encounter at the start of their races is having to queue in long lines to use the bathrooms before their races. Well, with the virtual races this inconvenience is eliminated.

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1. Lack of race environment

Nothing can replace the race weekend environment, from picking the BIB numbers, to visiting the race Expo and sampling the running-related products, to waking up early and warming up for the race, among others.

2. Different racing conditions bring unfair competition

While the runners will be running one race virtually, they will be doing it from different countries, continents, altitudes, times, and weather conditions. It will be hard to count as a race.

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