Is a virtual race for you? This review of the 2017 runDisney Virtual Running Shorts can help you decide!
If you’ve been around this blog for any amount of time, you know I’m completing my first runDisney race later this year — the Wine & Dine Half Marathon actually, and in less than 60 days!! I’ve been all about runDisney in 2017. As soon as I submitted registration for Wine & Dine, I had already mentally decided I would be participating in this year’s Virtual Running Shorts as well.
I discovered the Virtual Running Shorts Series last summer, but refrained from signing up for a couple of reasons. 1. My husband and I were moving to a new city soon and I didn’t know what my running situation would be like, and 2. I learned the details of the series in July after it had already started and I wouldn’t be able to participate in the full series. My all-or-nothing mentality kept me out of the running in 2016 (literally and figuratively), so I jumped in head first in 2017. Read on for my first runDisney Virtual Running Shorts experience and some thoughts on deciding if virtual running is for you!
2017 runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Review
What is a Virtual Race?
A virtual race is an event that allows participants to run on a course of their own choosing on a specific date or within a specific time frame. Participants do not gather at a starting line all at once, but rather simply run a distance requirement where and when it is convenient for the runner! Funds gained from virtual races are often donated to charitable organizations, or organized for the purpose of charity first and foremost. Think the recent #RunForTexas virtual race over Labor Day Weekend in which race funds were donated to the Texas Diaper Bank and American Red Cross in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.
What is the Virtual Running Shorts Series?
The runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Series is characterized by three 5K runs — one for each month of summer. Participants can choose to participate in one, two, or three 5K runs, as well as the series of all three runs. Runners had the option of completing their runs any time within the allotted month.
Runs are completed on the honor system with finishers visiting a website after the run to enter times and download a printable finisher certificate.
The “mascot” for this year’s Virtual Running Shorts was none other than Pluto! Participants were encouraged to leash their dogs up to join them on the course! A portion of the proceeds from this year’s series was donated to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, and runners could also choose to donate separately.
How much does it cost?
The cost to participate is $40 per race, or $142 for the series. There is a $22 difference in signing up for each run individually, or signing up for the entire series. I chose to pay the $142 and sign up for the series. My all-or-nothing mentality got me again! But… I got an extra medal and a cooling towel that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Related: Flashback Friday: Disney Dreaming
What goodies are included?
Runners get a printable bib for each run and/or the series, a commemorative finisher medal for each run, and a printable finisher certificate. Participants who signed up for the series received a commemorative series medal in addition to the run-specific medals, and a Coolcore towel. The medals and the towel are high quality and would make a great addition to anyone’s medal collection.
June finishers got a medal featuring Pluto’s dog tag, while July runners received a Pluto dog bowl medal. August’s medal featured Pluto’s doghouse and the series medal had Pluto himself front and center.
Participants who signed up by April 30, 2017, also received a commemorative dog tag and collapsible dog bowl. I missed out on this because in the month of April my mind was in survival mode just trying to get the end of the school year! Pluto and virtual runs were the last thing on my mind.
My swag came in the mail about six weeks after I signed up. I never received a tracking notification, so I found myself wondering if they would ever arrive or if runDisney had forgotten about me. Then suddenly, there they were!
Why did I decide to join Virtual Running Shorts? What are my thoughts on the Series?
I decided to join the runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Series because I took a break from running after my 10K in March and wanted to “jump back on the horse” before I began training for Wine & Dine in November. I needed to build my running base back up and I felt like the series would encourage me to do that.
Half marathon training was slated to begin the week of July 4th, so I worked on building my running base in the month of June. By June 5, I had already completed my virtual 5K requirement and entered my time on the finisher website! I ran about a 5K or longer at least twice a week for the rest of June. My swag hadn’t come in the mail yet and there didn’t seem to be much social media buzz about the series, so I just trucked along with my routine. I started training the first week of July, and again, easily met the 5K requirement thanks to my training. My medals and towel finally arrived around July 24, so I snapped a picture for Instagram and went on my merry way. By August, my priorities started to shift and I began working on fitting my running schedule into my work schedule because back to school was coming up very quickly. Truthfully, I completed the series and earned all four medals without even realizing it.
So overall, what are my thoughts? I believe this virtual series was heavily overshadowed by my training plan. Most days I was running beyond the 5K requirements, which made things seem somewhat anti-climactic. I also didn’t take the time to print my race bibs and finisher medals because… Well, ink is expensive and they were very colorful! But I certainly have them saved in PDF format on my computer. 🙂 Had I used a shorter training plan, I would have focused on the virtual series to help keep me active throughout the summer months.
Will I sign up again? Hmm… Maybe. It’s expensive, and like I mentioned, I have that all-or-nothing mentality. If I’m going to do one, I want to do them all and I want the series medal to prove it! I think whether I participate again will be dependent on my race schedule and the shape my regular running routine is in at the time.
Is a Virtual Race for you?
Again… Maybe! I think a virtual race could be great motivation for someone who needs a “reason” to get moving. Virtual races are also a great idea if the proceeds benefit a cause you’re passionate about. But that said, there’s nothing to stop you from paying the fee and never completing the run since everything is based on honor.
Question: Have you ever completed a virtual race?