Might be time to try out a “virtual” race

Everyone knows that road races—in fact all endurance competitions—have been postponed for the foreseeable future. But what about virtual races?

Well, let’s face it, they are not the same. You don’t get to run side-by-side with your rivals and outkick them to the finish. Yet, in these social-distancing times, there is definitely something to be said for “virtual” races.

So here’s the deal. Go online and sign up for a virtual race. Notice the registration fee is significantly lower! Some events will have a course actually marked on the roads, while others leave it up to you to run a measured distance. You may or may not be asked to run the race at a given time. The “when” is often optional as well, with some races encouraging all participants to run at the same time, while others leave it up to you.

According to the Capitol 10,000 Virtual 10K race site, “Virtual running works exactly the same way as any other type of running but the difference is that the entered race can be run at any location, along any route, at any pace and even on a treadmill.  All you have to do is go for a run or walk and provide evidence that you have completed the distance.”

Honor System
OK, so there’s a huge opportunity to “cheat” here. You time yourself, and in some cases, you measure the course. But why would you do that? As runners, we’re in it to prove something to ourselves, not others. So cheating would be something 99.9% of us would not even think about. Once you have completed your race, you submit the results (via a link on the event site) and get a medal mailed to you. No human contact and completely safe!

The Statesman Capitol 10,000 currently has registration open ($50) through June 30 for their virtual race. That means if you register by then, you get a race packet mailed to you with 2020 Cap10K tech race shirt, official finisher’s medal; finisher’s certificate; and of course, packet mailing is included. For a fully loaded virtual race experience, race organizers recommend joining the Cap10K Club on STRAVA. Strava is a free app that takes virtual racing to the next level.

Choice of Courses
The Capitol 10,000 folks made choosing a course easy for you. Chris Thibert, Event Manager at Austin American-Statesman, looked into Austin racing archives for inspiration. “I looked into the archives of Austin’s 10K scene and found four 10K routes,” said Thibert. “One south, one central, one north central, and one way north. These are certified courses from past races.”

The courses are old Austin favorites: the Statesman Capitol 10K; Sundown Classic 10K; Mangia Zilla 10K; and the Bison Stampede 10K. Race organizers have really gone all out to offer  you a deluxe race experience, featuring virtual tour videos, detailed Strava links, and more. So it you’re going to try out a virtual race, this is the real deal. And remember, even though you might not be running alongside thousands of other runners, you’re still running a legitimate 10K and that’s what counts!

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