That might change beginning this fall—to a certain extent.
The New York Road Runners (NYRR) launched a virtual racing program in beta earlier this year, and according to SportTechie, one of the races may include a virtual marathon. The virtual marathon would take place around the same time as the actual NYC Marathon (scheduled for Nov. 4), allowing an unlimited number of participants from around the globe to compete.
“NYRR is aiming to have nine total virtual races this year and is currently looking into potential virtual race distances for the latter half of the year, including marathon season,” the NYRR said in a statement.
A virtual race is a run of a predetermined distance that participants do on their own and at their own location during a given time period, rather than showing up to a specific location at a certain date and time for an event like a 5K or marathon.
Proceeds from the NYRR virtual races support their mission to help and inspire people through running as well as benefitting NYRR’s youth and community programs.
There have been three virtual races so far in 2018: NYRR Virtual Resolution Run 5K (Jan. 1-15), NYRR Virtual For the Kids 5K (Feb. 13-19), and NYRR Virtual NYC 10K (March 14-18).
The NYRR Virtual Sunrise to Sunset 5K is scheduled from May 1-15.
“NYRR has 50 races a year in New York City. The majority of those races sell out, and we find ourselves with runners who want to be running with us but may get shut out,” said Christine Burke, NYRR’s vice president of runner products and services. “We were looking for ways to give runners more opportunity to run with us and were looking to increase the reach of New York Road Runners nationally and around the world.”
Each virtual race will cost NYRR members $20, while non-members can participate for $30. Even though the races don’t count toward the 9+1 program, which guarantees automatic entry into the NYC Marathon, the virtual race program has its own incentive program—participation in six virtual races allows entry into the Brooklyn Half Marathon.