Us runners run for a variety of reasons. To stay fit, lose weight, get headspace etc etc. But some do it for the bling. That lovely bit of shiny stuff on the end of a thick ribbon that says you’ve run the race and claimed your reward.

But what do you do when the races have been cancelled and there is no date in sight for them restarting? Go virtual of course!

There are loads of virtual races out there. From virtual versions of your favourite events, to organisations offering races and challenges covering a range of distances, many supporting charities.

And if you are a member of a running club, you will have access to all the challenges and virtual races they are putting on to keep members involved and fit. My running club has joined forces with those across the county to create a virtual league to replace the usual league race season. There are six races with distances varying from a mile to 10k. You run your race over a weekend and submit your time. The top six runners in each club win points for the team.

There’s a real team atmosphere on our Facebook page as we post selfies wearing our club vests, share our times and routes and encourage and congratulate each other.

And I know other clubs are supporting members in similar ways. I’ve seen colour challenges, road sign challenges and virtual club runs posted on social media, as well as pub quizzes and Zoom meet ups.

Where to find virtual races

There are a number of really good organisations out there that specialise in virtual runs. My favourite is Virtual Runner. I’ve taken part in a number of their races and challenges over the years and always found the website easy to use and medals arrive really quickly after you submit your evidence (although do accept there may be some delay across all virtual sites where they are waiting on stock due to Covid-19 impacting their supply chains). A significant part of your entry fee is paid to charity, with each challenge supporting a different one. And they often have fun runs over shorter distances so you can get the kids involved.   

Pow Virtual Running has a fabulous range of medals to choose from, including Star Wars and superhero-themed bling as well as a biscuit design – what’s not to love? They also include a range of distances so suit all levels of runners.

MedalMad is another site to check out.

You can also check the race listing pages of magazines like Runners World and Women’s Running. The latter has also launched its own range of virtual running and fitness challenges with a selection of very tasteful medals.

Many charities have also set up their own virtual races and so there are loads to choose from.

So, if you still want that bling and can’t wait until we can race together again, sign up to some virtual challenges. It’ll give focus to your running and that sense of achievement we all love. Happy running!