Many runners have asked for some help in making their choice for this year's virtual version of the GMS Queen City Marathon. To help those still deciding and to encourage those who have opted for a refund this year to reconsider joining in the virtual race fun, we have tried to answer some of the major questions regarding a virtual run.
What is a Virtual Run?
In the Covid-19 era, a virtual run is the "new normal" for large races and is an exciting alternative to traditional races for this year. A virtual run is the opportunity to run your race at your pace, at your time, and in your location.
Why Run a Virtual Run?
Many people will ask themselves why they should run a virtual event this year. Here are a few of the reasons we think you should take part:
- You have set goals and have been training for that purpose.
- Running is great for your mental and physical health, as well as a great stress-reliever.
- It will give you something positive to focus on: "I CAN do" versus "I can't do."
- It lets you continue to be part of a great running and walking community.
- It will provide you with a sense of accomplishment.
- We are including some cool swag for our virtual events.
- It's the best way to support your local running events: Shop Local, Run Local.
How Does a Virtual Run Work?
Choose Your Own Day and Start Time.
With your virtual event this year, you have the ability to chose a day and time that works into your schedule. You DO NOT have to run or walk your race during the traditional GMS Queen City Marathon race weekend. With the entire month of September available in which to run or walk your virtual event, you should be able to select a day that provides your ideal conditions.
- What weather do you want to run or walk in?
- What time of day to you prefer to run or walk?
- Fit your virtual race around family and work schedules.
Choose Your Course.
Most runners and walkers have always wanted to test their hand at race course design. Well, this is your chance to design and race on a course you love. You DO NOT have to run or walk on the usual GMS Queen City Marathon courses (although that is one option). All our local communities have great pathways, neighbourhoods, and attractions that could be included in your course this year.
In fact, one virtual marathoner in the USA ran his entire 42.2K full marathon by running in circles in his driveway! Not exactly the most scenically diverse course...but it sure kept him close to hydration, toilets, and his cheering section!
Things to think about as you design your course:
- How many other people will you encounter on your course? You need to consider physical distancing recommendations.
- Where are washrooms and possible hydration stations? Do you need to stay close to home to access these?
- Do you want to race on hills or on a flat course? Do you want many turns or mostly a straight out-and-back course?
- What role might vehicle traffic have on your course? Remember, t's most likely that your course for this virtual event will not have any traffic control or course marshals.
- What surface do you prefer to race on? Are you a pavement person or do you prefer a trail? Or is a treadmill your go-to place to race?
Make If Feel Like a Real Event and Have Fun With It.
While it will be challenging to recreate the full race day experience with thousands of fellow participants and spectators, we encourage you to include as many elements as possible.
Invite your family to be part of your virtual race day. Include them in your start and finish line, including recording a live finish video you can upload to social media, tagged with #RunRegina and #QCM2020.
If you are looping past your house, have them provide a water station in the front yard. Or have them provide a cheer station with music and signs. This is your opportunity to be as creative as possible.
In the days leading up to your race day, think about the routine you had prepared for your original race day. Your fuelling, hystration, sleep, and mental preparation are still an important part of your virtual race. Lay out your shoes and clothes the night before you plan to run. The day is still yours and the success you will have is based on good preparation.
How Do I Track and Record My Time?
We will be partnering with Race Roster and the Runkeeper app to automatically record times to our website, if you choose. Alternatively, you will be able to manually upload times from your devices and/or apps like Garmin Connect, Strava, or Map My Run. Recording an official time is NOT a requirement to participate in this year's virtual event.
Can I Transfer Events?
Many people have asked about transferring distances and we have heard you. You are now able to transfer events on your Race Roster registration dashboard with NO ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE FEES this year.
Will I Get My Race Kit? Will I Get My Shirt and Medal?
We are excited to get our unique race shirts, medals, and swag into your hands prior to September, if possible. We will be providing curbside pickup in Regina for local participants, with "when and where" pickup instructions being sent out in August.
For participants outside the Regina area, we will find a solution to get your race kit to you without you having to come to Regina for pickup.
We will ensure that everyone registered in this year's virtual event will get their race kit, shirt, and medal (or shirts and medals, plural, if you a doing multiple races for the Scribbly Challenge or Scribbly Cubed).
Committment from the GMS Queen City Marathon.
We recognize that most of our runners and walkers have already started training and have invested time and resources into their race plans for this year. Therefore, we felt it was important to give you the opportunity to still have your race day this September.
Yes, it is going to look and feel a little different this year, but what doesn't these days? Despite these unusual circumstances, we are confident that we can provide you with a great virtual race experience.
Our volunteer team is working to incorporate as many elements of our traditiona race weekend in our plans to help you throughout September. We ask you to believe in us and trust our ability to provide value and some special treats in this special year.
When we all started the 2020 race season, no one evisioned or planned for a a virtual event, but, now that we are there, we will ensure that those who run and walk with us will have and remember a great race experience.
Stay active and stay safe. We cannot wait to see photos and videos from your virtual GMS Queen City Marathon race in September.
And remember to add #RunRegina and #QCM2020 to all your social media posts!
Executive Director, Run Regina and Race Director, GMS Queen City Marathon.