The RunGuides Guide to Virtual Racing

Planning on running a virtual race in the near future?? We've put together a few top tips to help you simulate the regular race day experience at your next virtual run!

But first, let's roll through a quick virtual race FAQ

What is a virtual race/how does a virtual race work?

- Virtual races are just like regular runs, except runners are given a period of time to run the distance. Participants run whenever/wherever they want, then send in their results (run app file/picture of their watch etc.) to the race organizers to verifiy that they ran the distance.

Do virtual races give out medals?

- Most virtual races have some sort of finishers package that usually includes a medal and option for other gear. Different events offer different finisher awards.

.... annnnd that's it for the FAQ. On to the tips!

Race Morning Anxiety

Recreate punishing race morning anxiety by telling one of your weird early morning run friends that you’ll do your virtual race with them during their regular 6:30am run. Set your alarm for stupid o’clock, then fumble through the familiar routine of goggily eating oatmeal, and nervously botching your bib pin job multiple times before you’re out the door at the last minute!

Virtual race morning routine

Bathroom Line-ups

Nothing says race morning like an awkward bathroom lineup! We suggest telling all members of your household to tie up the bathroom with extra long morning showers. Live alone? Deadbolt your bathroom, then put the key into a time release box! (something like this thing;

Virtual race bathroom lines

On Course Photography

Convince a friend or family member to set up at a few key locations “on course.” Have them snap some photos of you on their phone then sell them back to you after the run for $40. 

Multi-Role Bonus

Load this person up with a bag of gels and a motivational sign and they’ll be able to double as both an on course aid station, and motivational sign holder!

Virtual race photography

The Finishing Chute

Finishing a virtual race can be a bit lonely, luckily people on craigslist will do just about anything for $20! Use the gigs section to quickly recruit a few finish line crowd members to cheer for you as you cross the line. 

Congratulations! You've not only finished your virtual race, but have managed to do it in style!

Virtual race finish


Find Virtual (and Non Virtual Runs)

If you're looking to try out a virtual race, head over to the RunGuides virtual races calendar at, or, go to to find a future running race near you!

Published on May 11, 2020
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