So the other day, I'm scanning through facebook and I see someone I follow mentions a "Bazinga Half Marathon." The finisher medal looks like this sweet bazinga logo piece of shiny-ness and I'm instantly drawn to it like a moth to a flame. And there were several reasons:
1) I love shiny things. Like a magpie.
2) I love Big Bang Theory. Bazinga is in my daily vocabulary.
3) I liked the idea of having another "half marathon" to motivate me to finally work my way up to that 13.1 mile distance.
But then I thought, This says it's a virtual run... What the heck is a virtual run?
Questions. I have lots of questions.
*You pick your own route.
*You run it at home, not in a large group.
*You're operating entirely on the honor code to finish it.
Ok, well for me half the fun of racing is the group activity part of it. I like going out in public and meeting and talking to new people. New friends are like presents. And I like presents.
But the other half of me, as I mentioned before, loves shiny stuff. And honestly, most of the races I've run haven't had cool finisher medals. And I'm drawn to them. There's this weird gravitational force that those tiny pieces of metal have over me. Science cannot explain it.
Anyways, in this particular scenario, I thought... "Meh, why not?" So I forwarded the info on to my running buddy and partner-in-crime, Coley. Her response?
"Why would I pay $20 to just get a medal in the mail and then still have to run?"
Good question indeed, Coley. Good question.
Which brings me to my topic for today:
VIRTUAL RUNS: YAY OR NAY?
For others, virtual runs might make them feel better about being able to accomplish the goal at their own pace. A lot of people are afraid to enter races because they feel they're too slow or they're ashamed that they might have to stop and walk a part of the distance. By doing a virtual run, you eliminate any potential embarassment about being slow or walking. I can understand that. Not everyone feels comfortable about their running ability and this could be a good stepping stone to running, for lack of a better term, "real races."
Maybe, like me, the shiny fancy medals are what draw you in to the virtual running community. I was a member of a group on facebook to promote different virtual runs and every day was like shopping for jewlery to log in and see all the different bling that was being promoted. Every shape, color, and size imaginable. It was enthralling and I could see how that might attract people to want to participate.
And finally, a lot of the races donate their proceeds to charity. In fact, most of the ones I saw online were designed to raise money for various causes. Which is GREAT! I love that people are getting others to help donate money in unique and creative ways. More power to ya!
How many of these people signed up for virtual runs actually go out and DO the run? And does it count if they stop and take a break halfway through? What if they sign up for a half marathon and run 6.1 miles one day and 7 miles the next? Is that still valid?
And what about the money being rasied? I mean sure they SAY they're going to donate it to a charity... But how do I KNOW that's what's actually happening? And how much of the money is going to the charity? What percent actually ends up with the organization? Are the people putting these races taking some of the top to pay themselves before they send 10 cents of every dollar on to the actual chairty? And does it matter? Even if not all of the money goes to the charity, at least some of it is, and every little bit helps, right?
And finally, what does it say about us as a society if we reward ourselves every time we go out for a run? Oh look, I went out and designed my own half marathon course and ran it at my own pace, with no one else around. I DESERVE A MEDAL! Is this some sort of participation trophy like Fourth Grade Basketball all over again? Because I know I didn't EARN that trophy. Everyone got one and I was certainly not looking at a future in the WNBA...
What do you think? Am I crazy? Are virtual runs a good time or a waste of money? Have you ever run a virtual race and how did it go?
And until next time, my friends. Much #RunLove