Covid-19 has taken its toll on the race world, too. Most races have been canceled or postponed, so runners are flocking to virtual races. I organized a fun, informal social distance half marathon back in April that involved friends from around the world. Beyond that, I had not participated in a virtual race. Before Covid, I had heard of a few here and there, but they have gained massive popularity this spring. I was hunting around for one and low and behold, Facebook suggested Yes.Fit. They had loads to choose from, but I wanted one that had sweet swag, a cool map to follow along with, and a larger distance that would provide a challenge. I found the Rocky Mountain National Park 115 mile virtual race and it met all the mentioned criteria.
June 15th I started it and finished it June 28th. Fourteen days to complete it wasn’t the worst, but I had planned on doing it in a shorter time frame. I ended up needing to have a surgery and was told I absolutely could not run for two days (he said three but I negotiated it to two).
The set up was pretty cool. Each day I ran, Yes.Fit synched with my Strava. It would map the distance I ran on a GPX of the race.
They also had these little information stations that I could learn about important parts of the National Park, like its history and starting locations for trailheads. It made me want to visit, and when I do I will definitely refer back to the map Yes.Fit provided.
Each day I would excitedly check where I ran to on the course. A 360 view of the day’s location was viewable. Some days it was in the mountains, some days trail, some days it was on road or nearby cabins.
-The race motivated me to run longer distances, run twice some days, and skip rest days. It was a personal race; no one keeping tabs on you but you.
-The biggest takeaway is that this was a form of play, or role playing in a sense. The use of imagination was at play. Each time I was out running, I imagined the course I was racing. It was fun. We all want to have fun, right? It helps us stay young and involved with life in a way that doesn’t drain our being.
-Do I really need a race to run? Well, no. Even the on-site races aren’t entirely necessary, but I find satisfaction in competing against myself. It was a epitome of a solo race.
-I didn’t love waiting for the medal. I do attribute the long wait in part to Covid. But, I suppose there might be some wisdom in all good things are worth waiting for. Whoever said that first probably wasn’t talking about race swag….
Would I do another virtual race through Yes.Fit? Definitely. I already have a couple in mind. Get Your Kicks on Route 66? The Pacific Crest Highway? Yeti in Nepal?
Which one should I choose?
“Thought we said never again?
Ooh my love, can’t believe,
The headline crawls across the screen.
I couldn’t fall asleep,
And it’s raining on both ends of the phone.
You’re in the lobby and I’m on my way home,
But there’s no shelter without you there.
Some things are so simple,
They’re impossible to explain.”
Happy trails, my friends. Stay rad.