Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Virtual Running

Virtual running is a wonderful thing.  Especially when a) you live in the sticks, like I do (hallooooooo, Bloemfontein!), or b) don't travel nearly as much as you yearn to.  I signed up with Virtual Running UK in April, but missed out on the April run as a result of being watchless (and therefore being unable to provide proof of time).  But this month I'm ready and armed with one of my May parkruns!

The Virtual Running UK logo.  [Source.]

If you're unfamiliar with the concept of virtual runs, it basically works as follows: Find a virtual run that you like; enter/register online; run your chosen distance wherever you are in the world; log your results and provide proof of time; and boom!  Virtual race in the bag.  Many virtual races are free and offer no rewards upon completion, but more and more organisers are offering paid options, with added extras like medals and race bibs.  My personal favourite part of doing a virtual run is meeting new runners from across the globe through blog hops, and just feeling more connected to the global running community.  As they say (or not), if you can't run there in person, join in virtually.

My virtual run for May, as part of the Virtual Running UK initiative, was the Naval Hill parkrun held on 17 May 2014.  

Ready to roll.

Winter showed up quite suddenly in our part of the world, and with K being a bit sniffly, I opted to go parkrunning alone (thanks Will!).  Having had only myself to get ready for the run, I actually showed up early...  Uncharted waters, people.  Uncharted waters.

I was delighted to see that my hometown parkrun is growing by leaps and bounds, with 86 runners vs. the previous week's 60-something.  I'm also starting to know a few faces - all of whom seem to be just as addicted as I am - love it!  Yip, I'm officially hooked. 

Running solo this time confirmed my suspicion that this is a tough, tough route to do with a stroller: I was able to start more towards the front (I always start at the back with the stroller to avoid getting in someone's way) and knocked more than two minutes off my parkrun PB, whoop!  

I ended up placing 18th out of 86, and 4th female overall - hooray!  (Not that parkrun is a competition, ahem.)  The best part for me, though, was feeling great afterwards.  For the first time since the inaugural Naval Hill parkrun three weeks ago I didn't feel like passing out in the bushes or crawling into a hole, which is really great.  Progress is a wonderful thing.

So, there you have it: My Virtual Run UK run for May: A great 5 k on a fantastic day in Bloemfontein, South Africa in 28:11!

Have you ever done a virtual race?  Is it something you would consider doing?


  1. Awesome job on your park run! How fun to get to run it solo! I've done a few virtual runs, but nothing quite as organized as what you've described. Fun!

    1. Mandy!! It's SO good to hear from you! I sooo miss following your adventures and was afraid that something might be wrong... Your comment made my day!

  2. I've never done a virtual race before, but it seems like such a convenient way to race! It'd be hard for me to be as motivated than in a physical race, but it's definitely a fun idea :)

    1. True, I think the absence of race day adrenaline and hype will make it a bit harder to get out there and push oneself, but it's still fun. I'm itching to do one with a big, fat medal one of these days - pity postage to SA is so darn expensive!

  3. I signed up for the Virtual Running in April, and missed it too. Great solo parkrun! I've got my PBs on solo parkruns too but found it really hard, I missed my running buddy when I did it on my own. My son keeps up a running commentary about Disney when we run together and I get to run intervals rather than try to keep going all the way round ;)

    I didn't know parkrun had reached South Africa - go parkrun!

    I visited Bloemfontein when I was a child and lived in Botswana and Zimbabwe.

    Good luck for June's virtual race :)

    1. I totally agree - although I go a lot faster on my own, I really miss my little running buddy when I do parkruns alone. Our local parkrun is in a nature reserve, so we have great fun searching for game on the run - we love it!

      So great that you lived in Botswana and Zimbabwe - beautiful, beautiful countries. I've been wanting to do the Vic Falls Half for some time now - hopefully soon!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. That's great running! I only discovered parkrun this year and am amazed at how quickly it's spreading. My local parkrun is pretty big with around 400 runners each week but somehow I prefer the smaller events.
    - Kirsten (The Blog Runner
    Virtual Running UK


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