How Do You Feel About Virtual Races?

*Disclaimer* Sponsored Post -I received 3 months of free entries with Jost Running in exchange for my honest opinions about their races. All opinions are my own.

As a runner, I am familiar with the concept of virtual racing although I have never participated in one. The topic has been debated on social media over and over again with some very strong opinions on either side. Some believe virtual race medals “don’t count” since that person isn’t at a specific place, at a specific time, with other specific runners all following a specific path. (I wont even get into the distance/medals debate that’s another argument for another time) While others believe that whatever makes you happy and keeps you motivated is as good a reason as any… as long as you’re running.

Me? Well those who read me know that I’m in it for the bling! All of my race plans revolve around what’s in it for me… what do I get for my money? A shirt? MEH …I can goto the store and buy a shirt that’s not a walking billboard for some bank or grocery store. Granted I have some pretty cool shirts but they mostly just hang in the closet. NOPE! What does it for me is this:

race wall

The more unique the better! Lets face it …running is hard! I want some kind of reward for my struggles. Ok maybe it comes easy for some people but not me. I’m your average Joe and would much rather take a nap then get up and go for a run. My shins hurt, my feet hurt, I find it hard to breathe and yet… I keep signing up and I keep running. By the end of this year I will have just about doubled the number of races I’ve done last year. But outside of the race course …I’ll be lucky if I get a mile in on my own time… I have every intention of doing it but it seems life is always getting in the way. If only I had some motivation…..

Enter the virtual race. I read about one virtual racing company, Jost Running, on a social media post and decided to check it out.

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Each month they have a new race theme and medals to go along with it. With each theme they have four race distances: 5K, 10K, Half, and Full Marathon. The 5 and 10K races have one medal design and cost $25 each. The Half and Full have another design and run $35 each. Part of the proceeds from your registration benefit a different charity each month. In this case, the ALS Association (fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease) benefits for the month of May.

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So how does it work? Well when you register, you receive a custom bib to print out for your race… then well …you “run, walk, run/walk, swim, hopscotch, use an elliptical machine, or any other way you choose to compete in your race.  What matters most is that you move.” You can do it all at once, or space it out for the whole month. Once you have reached your goal, simply record your time and they will mail you out your medal. Your time is then posted to a leader board where it is compared to the other participants just as it would be in an actual race. Forget to post a time? Well they will still mail you out your medal anyways.

Select your race:

races

Print your bib and run:

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Collect your medal:

Maymedals 

So who are the people behind Jost Running? Well they are a Mother/Daughter team who began the site roughly a year ago. Their first virtual race was in August of 2013 and it has continued ever since. Their mission is to “encourage and support people to make a move towards a healthy life.  For some that begins with finding the courage to take that first step.  We want to help them build the confidence so that they can sign up for a destination race and know they can finish strong.  We offer a platform that is uplifting, confidence building and free of judgment.  If it takes a week or a month to finish one of our events, we are good with that.  Maybe the next month they will be inspired to push a little harder and set their own PR.”

As you may have guessed… they have reached out to running bloggers over social media and I have been selected to participate in their races for three months. This is a very exciting time for me! Not only will this encourage me to “get back on the horse” and start running again on a daily basis… but I’m even motivated to go further and really earn that Half Marathon medal since I’ve never run farther than 7 miles at one time. Also, I’ve been trying to think of a way to get my 2 boys interested in running …get them off the computers and outside this summer. Hopefully they will even join me in destination races …maybe run track or cross country once they get to high school. All it takes is that first step… and that step will (hopefully) happen this weekend as I plan to take them out for a 5K (or less) and have them earn their “Brave New Route” medals!

may medals

They are still in the packaging and I have told myself they are not to be removed until they are earned! Naturally I will blog about our progress over these next few months so be sure to follow along!