What Is a Virtual 5K ?
If you participate in a regular 5K the routine involves something like this. You sign up for the race. You go out and train. You go to packet pick up and get your race bib and other gear. Then it is race day. You drive to the race venue. You line up behind the starting line with fellow racers. Then the starting gun shoots and you are all off. You take off, winding your way through the crowd, or staying behind in the pack of the pack. At the end, you cross the finish line, get your medal and celebrate another finished race.
Each event is unique in its own way, but when it gets down to it, a 5K is a 5K. In the past couple of years something new has emerged in the race scene. It’s called a Virtual 5K. They are popping up all over the world, and the unique thing about them is that anyone, anywhere in the world, can participate.
How does this work? For a virtual 5K you usually sign up online. You fill out your registration form and usually there is a date range for you to complete your race. You get to choose. For instance, you might have the entire month of April to complete your race. So you get to choose the date, and you get to choose your own course, and you time yourself. There is no crowd to fight through. When you complete your run (or walk), you submit your time online and then your medal is shipped to your house.
Some participants in virtual 5K’s like to gather their friends together and plan their own race. They each get a medal and they are able to go out and do their own run and do it at a time that works for all of them. Some running clubs, or cross country teams, like to purchase multiple medals and use them as part of a training run. Most groups like to send in group photos of everyone holding their medals.
Virtual 5k ‘s work for people that need more of a flexible schedule to be able to fit in their race when it works for them. It is also convenient for people that live far away from race venues and are able to still participate without having to travel long distances. And for those that like to avoid the crowds, a virtual race is the best way to run alone, or with a small group of friends.