Where to run a Virtual Race

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the IMT Des Moines Marathon (half)  and the Garmin Kansas City Marathon (half) to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!” *I then purchased the I-35 challenge registration.*

Virtual Races – it’s the new normal. While they are not my favorite thing, it might be the only option and I can still support the organizations.

I signed up for both the Kansas City Marathon and the Des Moines Marathon with the intention of running both full marathons in one weekend. It was going to be my next big challenge, but here we are and both events have offered virtual options, (among other choices.)

I have already ran two virtual marathons this year and I don’t have it in me to do two more in the same weekend. Sure I know that there are different rules for virtual racing, but I like to do the events the date they were originally scheduled. That’s the date you agreed to participate when you registered, why back off now? The Kansas City event was to take place October 17th and the Des Moines event the 18th.

I made sure I could still do the I35 challenge and I have opted to do both races on those original dates, but with the half marathon distance.

So here we are, days before the event and I need to figure out where I am running them. I have run many miles in my city and I could easily map a route to get 13.1 miles each day, but I will confess – I am very bored running the same routes. This is why I miss traveling to races and getting to explore new places to run.

How do I choose where to run?

I feel I will run one day in my city and the other day somewhere else. At this distance I can easily carry a pack with all the things I need so aid stations are not a problem, but what if I need to use the bathroom?

I have thought about driving to Des Moines (it’s about 2 hours away) and running the half marathon course. Sadly, I am not familiar with the course and I don’t want to get lost. While 2 hours isn’t too far and it would be fun to go somewhere, I just don’t feel like that is the best plan.

A friend suggested running in her city, which is about an hour away. A good compromise of not too far and going somewhere new. Also, I could say hi to a friend from a safe distance.

Do I run a local trail? Out and back? Hills? A loop? Each race does require results to be submitted, but I am not too concerned with a finishing time based on a tough or easy course.

Virtual races have too many options for me. I miss showing up on race day and having one direction to go, one race course to follow, one finish line to cross, one start time, etc. This much freedom to choose where, when, how I run is too much as I easily get distracted and overthink where I should be running.

Have you been participating in virtual races? Where do you decide to run them?