We all know someone who is an avid runner. They’re the friend or family member who sticks to a strict diet, training regimen, and schedule in preparation for their next race. He or she might not go out Friday night so they can wake up at 6 a.m. Saturday for a 10-mile run before the rest of the world rises from their hangovers and ventures off to brunch.
Most people want to be healthier and running is one of the best exercises for you. The benefits are endless, but finding the motivation (and time) to devote to it may be easier said than done. That’s where virtual races come into play.
A virtual race is a run (or walk) of a predetermined distance that participants do on their own time and at their own pace. There isn’t the commitment of waking up early on a weekend, driving to a set location, and lining up with hundreds or thousands of other runners for a 5K or marathon. Virtual races aren’t intimidating; they’re light-hearted.
“It’s something a little different, something a little fun,” said Dr. Michael Sachs, a sports psychologist and professor in the Department of Kinesiology, College of Public Health at Temple University in Philadelphia. “If anything, it might get more people into running and at established races. You shouldn’t be embarrassed because it’s a virtual race.”
Gone For A Run is a company founded in 2010 that creates unique and thoughtful products that inspire people to run and celebrates those accomplishments. The Gone For A Run Virtual Race Series, which launched in 2015, offers opportunities to participate in virtual races, ranging from the “Run Now, Gobble Later 5K” Thanksgiving-themed race to “Kiss Me I’m a Runner 5K” around St. Patrick’s Day.
Interested participants register online for the race(s) of their choice, paying a fee ranging from $20-35. Portions of these registration fees are donated to accompanying charities, including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Achilles International, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and Give Kids the World Village. After registering, participants are sent a race package, which includes a race bib, medal, and T-shirt or other race-themed paraphernalia. Runners complete the predetermined distance at their own pace and time (during a certain date range), upload their results, and of course, share photos wearing their swag and proudly holding their medals on social media.
“The social engagement our races offer along with the great race swag and charity component helps with the continued growth of the amazing community of runners,” Gone For A Run founder Julie Lynn said.
The Gone For A Run Virtual Race Series has had more than 40,000 participants, ranging from novices to experienced runners, from all across the United States and Canada. More than 1,000 runners participated in the recent “Run Now, Gobble Later 5K”, which concluded Dec. 1.
Sachs, an avid runner himself, having participated in two marathons, says offering medals, T-shirts, and paraphernalia to entice novice runners is a classic example of extrinsic motivation. Such physical rewards are more beneficial in that scenario, but eventually, runners earn enough swag and their motivation turns intrinsic—motivation to accomplish goals for oneself’s self esteem, confidence, and pride.
“If you have someone who doesn’t run or exercise regularly, the T-shirts, hats, gloves, and medals might be a motivating factor,” he said. “Hopefully after a while you aren’t running for the medal, and you’re doing it because you like to run. Maybe this gets them one step closer to doing an organized race or joining a running community.”
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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