As the Ultra X Month of Miles challenge was nearing its end, I began my search for a new virtual race. My main issue with the races available is that most of them are virtual 5Ks/10Ks/Half Marathons. I’m not interested in completing virtual 5Ks and 10Ks unless it’s through a known entity (such as the SeaWheeze 10K), or unless I’m chasing a PR. Not only am I not in PR shape–in fact, at the time of writing this, my physical therapist has only cleared me to run 15 minutes consecutively, so completing a race for time isn’t possible yet. This therefore also rules out Half Marathons–which I do often run “just” to complete the distance, as I would have to walk almost the entire distance, and it then transforms from a 2hr-2.5hr endeavor to a MUCH longer slog. No thanks.
During my search for new races, I found an article by Runners World UK, outlining local races. I’m inclined to participate in UK races because shipping from the UK to Israel has been working relatively well (for the Israeli Postal Service, that is), and I have received all purchases/medals shipped from the UK. I was therefore pleased to see that Great Run, a series of UK races, is offering virtual races! There were three options available to me:
Virtual Great North Run, where I would have to run a half marathon, starting at 10:30am UK time (12:30pm Israel time) on a Sunday. As this is in the middle of my work day (the Israeli work week is Sunday-Thursday) and I’d have to walk most of the race, this is not doable.
Great Run Solo, a virtual weekly or monthly distance race. This is essentially identical to the Month of Miles, and doesn’t have a set start/end date to complete the race, so for now I am saving it in case I need a virtual race later down the line.
Great South Run Solo, where runners need to complete 25 runs over the course of 48 days (September 1 – October 18, the date of the cancelled Great South Run), with an optional distance component.
I really like the format of the Great South Run Solo, since it prioritizes consistency over speed. There is a distance component, where participants receive a “downloadable finisher memento” if they run 75 miles, 125 miles, or 200 miles over the course of 48 days. Not as exciting as a medal, but something extra to aim for, I guess.
Virtual RAce Details
Cost: 13.50 GBP/$17.76 (lol) This includes the 10 GBP race fee, which is being donated to the NHS, as well as a 3.50 GBP fee for international shipping. So far, this is the cheapest virtual race I have found!
Website: The website included all of the information I needed.
Social Media: I’ll be honest, I did not check any social media.
Tracking/Updates: For anyone who gets that jolt of satisfaction from checking an item off of a list or seeing accumulated progress, this is for you! Almost 3 weeks in, the race set up its online tracking platform. Every time I completed a walk or run, I entered the date, distance, and time, and I watched my progress slowly rise. After completing the 25 walks/runs and then 75 miles, I decided to try to complete 125 miles during the challenge. I completed 125 miles on October 18, the last day of the challenge. Certificate achieved!
Medal: The website said to expect the medal a month after the race ended. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to find a small package in my mailbox on November 9! The medal was accompanied by a mini KIND bar, which was promptly eaten. The medal was very nice and exactly as pictured on the website.
I enjoyed participating in the Great South Run Solo! Sometimes it was just the push I needed to get out the door that day. Accumulator challenges are a great way to maintain consistency. I felt that the price was decent, and shipping was pretty quick! I’ll definitely consider participating in another Great Run accumulator challenge…if the medal is pretty!