Virtual Running: Fad or Fun?

January 13, 2016 - By: Sarah Pease

If running was on the your new year's resolution list, here’s an idea to consider: virtual running. You heard us correctly. Virtual running. Races for Awareness defines it simply as an online race run on your own terms. On April 24, British astronaut Tim Peake will participate in the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon from the International Space Station at the same time the live race is being run on earth. Using the free treadmill RunSocial app, he’ll be able to check out previous London Marathon footage to get a feel for the course and crowds. Luckily, you don’t have to be a spaceman to try virtual running—the Prague Marathon is another race offering the digital option. And Android users can also try this trend with the
Virtual Runner app from Outside Interactive. Interested? Check out our list of pros and cons to help you decide whether running a virtual race is right for you:

  • Preview: ‘Run’ the course before investing in fees and travel.
  • Registration: Participate even if the race is sold out.
  • Flexibility: Run a race in segments instead of all at once and still get credit for completing, which makes it a great option for beginning runners.


  • Isolation: No race day atmosphere, no competition to push yourself further, and no comradery once you cross the finish line.
  • Logistics: No volunteers to steer you along the way. You’re in charge of figuring out your route.
  • Spectators: No one cheering you on or holding up funny signs.

Something else to keep in mind is the perks of each virtual race (i.e., medals or swag) differs. And if there’s an entry fee, usually a portion of it goes to charity. So no more excuses about not being able to keep your resolutions. Time to lace up and hit the treadmill.

Photo via: Runner's World


Does planning a virtual race appeal to you? How about a regular race? Regardless, plan your next running themed event on