Do you find yourself scratching your head asking:”What the ___ is a virtual race?” It’s ‘Will Run For Bling.’
Being runners and athletes; we enter a race, based on location, distance, and how large the field of runners are. Runners criteria for what a good race is is based on the design of tee shirt, course description, award categories and support during the race. We come to expect water stops, maybe replenishments, depending upon the distance, and perhaps even a little entertainment along the way!
So if one signs up for a ‘virtual event,’ isn’t he/she just purchasing a medal? I get that completion of the race is based on the honor system, but where’s the challenge? Where’s the competition and the commraderie?
After repeatedly seeing virtual races pop up on social media, I decided to investigate. This is what I’ve come to discover.
- Many of these virtual events claim to be for charity, but the fact is that many ‘real’ races make the same claim! Truth be known, there are many organizations, both virtual and real, that claim to raise money for charity, but the amount of money they donate is such a small percentage of their profits, thats it’s shameless.
- Some claim to donate some unstated “portion of proceeds” or a “percentage of profits” to unnamed charities. The very popular Spartan Race was recently criticized for donating less than 33 cents per participant to charity after charging $70-$100 entry fees for their events.
- New organizations have been popping up who are ‘for profit’ business! They don’t readily reveal this fact. They’d rather hide under the guise of what races use to be when local fire companies or community outreach programs benefitted. Many of these events, such as color runs and the like target people looking to be entertained more than test their athletic ability. They are out to make money solely for business.
Virtual Strides is a for-profit business that advertises that they give $5 per registration to charity. They claim that is the amount of money they can afford to donate and remain in business. Their average race is $29 so if they donate $5, that leaves $24 for producing and shipping a medal. You decide.
I’d rather see runners who want to give to charity, donate directly to a charity of their choosing, one that has meaning to them. And if you want to purchase a medal, you can buy one online. Heck, you can get one made and personalized if that’s what you want.
Many organizations are jumping on the bandwagon, because internet is an easy way to make money with minimum expense. You can do a virtual run at Disney World; Gone for a Run advertises dozens of races, and even Rock n Roll Marathons are pitching a contest where you run 3 virtual races to make a band and enter to win a free entry to a live race!
With people hiding behind computers and choosing television or video games over a walk, some conversation, or getting outdoors, it’s sad to think that runners, who pride themselves in being active, would take the shortcut to a medal!
My conclusion is that people who want to donate to charity – write a check. Runners who want a fancy medal, buy one! Simple! True runners take pride in EARNING a medal by training, running the course and finishing!
Dawn writes for You Certainly Can Run.