Deb Lowther: Family on the Run


Go Your Pace - Try a "Virtual Race"

Do Your Thing and Collect the Bling!

Virtual Races |

Like to set goals and wish you could challenge yourself with a 5km walk/run or a bike ride for charity but too nervous to sign up for a race? Have a group (running friends, walking group, hockey team, book club) that would love to do something fun and collect a finisher's medal but no way you can all get to a start line? Want to get the kids motivated to reach a goal? Have a school or neighbourhood club that is looking for an event you can do together? Then a Virtual Race may be for you!

I just recently heard about these events, and they are gaining in popularity. Not sure if it is the convenience of running, walking, cycling or roller blading at your pace, with your group, in your neighbourhood or because of the fun shiny medals you get upon completion, but I think Virtual Races are the way to go!

These Virtual Races are less about rules and more about motivating you to get active, set goals, challenge yourself and support some amazing charities. They work on the honor system and leave it up to you run/walk/bike the required distance and submit your time. Either way the Bling is yours.

Check out some of these medals and then keep reading to find out how you can join a Virtual Race.

Virtual Race

 Virtual Run

How Do Virtual Races Work?

You simply pick your race, register, pay the fee of $20-$30 and complete the distance on your own time.

A Virtual Race Kit includes a personalized race bib (some you download and print yourself, others are mailed), a finishers medal, and in some cases, a t-shirt.

A Virtual race can be run, walked, hiked, skipped, (or in some cases, cycled) anytime and anywhere, even indoors on a treadmill.

There is no age limit and there are no restrictions. Take your pet, your sister or your tricycle.

You don’t even need to complete your distance all at once! You can sign up for a 10km race and complete it in 5 outings that are 2km each. The important part is you cover the 10km distance before the end of the race period.

Each race has a race period. It will usually be ‘open’ for 4-6 weeks. You are to do your best to complete your chosen distance before the end of the race period.

Each race has a theme based on the time of the race or the charity it is supporting, such as St. Patricks Day, Easter, Puppy Love, Princess, Super Heros etc. The finishers medal will usually represent that theme and you can purchase t shirts or other running items when you register for an additional charge.

Each race also donates a portion of the registration fee (approx $5.00) to a charity of their choice that will be specified on their website when you register. Some show proof of total donation to that charity so you know your money is reaching the cause. They will also take suggestions for charities to support if you have a favorite one that you would like to see get some funds and recognition. From Crohns and Collitis, to Autism and Pet Rescue, or Veterans, these virtual runs support charities of all kinds.

Some will send you the Finisher's Medal when you register, others require you to submit your race time to confirm you completed it and others will send out medals within 30 days of the end of the race period, regardless if you actually did the race distance or not.

Some Virtual races remain open after the Race Period has passed, so you can still submit results if you took longer to complete your distance, you can even register for a race that has already happened if they have medals left so you still get your Bling.

Most ask you to submit a Finishers photo of yourself or your group to their website, Facebook or Instagram– of course wearing your fabulous medal.

Some will apply a discount on registration for groups of 10 or more.

Warning : When looking for virtual races, make sure to find ones that are recommended by others. Some are legitimate and give you exactly what you sign up for. Others are shady – they take your money without sending you your medal, and you can’t guarantee that the money earmarked for charity actually makes it there.

Virtual Races 

Here are some verified website I have found that have fabulous bling, support amazing charities and just might give you the motivation you need to get moving!!

Great Cycle Challenge Canada

This one is taking sign ups for FREE entry to the virtual ride in June. Join 20,000 other cyclist from Australia and the US and pedal to fight kids' Cancer.

Will Run For Bling 

I just signed up myself and my three daughters for a This Princess Wears Runners Virtual Race . . .because the princesses in my house most certainly DO wear runners!

Gone For A Run 

This race sends whole kit, including a shirt and extras, when you register and you send photo of you with medal after run and they have TONS of running stuff for purchase.

Virtual Strides 

Publishes proof of money sent to charities after the races period has ended. Confirms at least $5 from each registration goes to the charity

Races for Awareness 

80-100% of net proceeds go to charity and the races don’t have an end date so you can set your goals high.

 RELATED: What To Do With Your Race Medals?