It’s Virtual! I Got to Run Where and When I Wanted!
I’ll be the first to say it, I miss in real life racing. I miss getting to the starting line with other runners. I miss visiting new places and discovering new areas to run as a result of going to races. I miss the excitement of crowds along a race route and the energy boost they provide. I miss the feeling of an actual finish line and meeting and chatting with other runners there over bananas and bagels. I miss all those things that were a part of in real life races that I took for granted. But COVID, but COVID, but COVID… those two terrible words. At least we still have the option to run events virtually to give us a taste of what we’re missing. And as much as virtual events lack compared to IRL events, they do present their own unique benefits.
Virtual events of course negate the need for travel plans and save all the associated costs making them simpler and more affordable. They are also much easier to work into a busy schedule making them more accessible. Don’t like running in the morning? With a virtual race you don’t have to. You’re busy the day of the event? No problem! Run it the day before or the day after. Or run it a week before as I did with the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K because I’ll be busy running a 24 hour race on the day of the event. Lastly, virtual events allow you to choose where you run and what kind of terrain you run on. I was indecisive as to whether I wanted to run on roads or trails for the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K so I ended up running both on consecutive days because why not?
One of my goals was to actually try to race this 15K and run it as fast as possible. Well, I did not follow through with this goal. With a racing goal that has been on my “to do” list falling on the same day as the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K I decided to make some adjustments. I have wanted to test myself by running a 24 hour race for the last 3 years or so. I finally registered for a 24 hour race in April last year which was cancelled (COVID) and rescheduled to April 17th 2021, the same date as the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K. Thankfully with the Hot Chocolate 15K being virtual I could run it a week in advance. Even so, I did not want to push too hard for it as I wanted to be completely recovered and in top shape for my 24 hour race. Maybe it sounds like an excuse, but I have what may be some lofty goals for the 24 hour race and I don’t want to set myself up for failure or with excuses when things get tough there, which I expect them to at some point.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is the Official Charity Partner.
A major reason why I ran the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K was because the race is an official charity partner of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The mission of St. Jude Children’s Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. I love what they stand for as a nonprofit organization and the fact that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food. This was such a motivating factor for me to run this race that after registering I decided to start an additional fundraising campaign through the St. Jude Heroes program to raise funds as I train for and run ultramarathons this year.
Another reason I decided to run the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K was a simple one: the chocolate. My kids are pretty big fans of all things chocolate. I figured I’ll run the race and whatever swag and chocolate goodies I get can be shared with them. We’ll both get some of our favorites; it will be a win win!
While I’ll never be able to say that I believe virtual races can adequately replace in real life races, I don’t think they necessarily have to. I believe the two can coexist. For the time being and until we can safely get back to larger in real life races, virtual races will help me to tide my racing appetite and continue to enjoy my obsession with running.
April 14, 2021