• 13 AWESOME Virtual Races To Keep You Motivated During Quarantine 2020

 

Written By: Katie Purcell

 

Introduction

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos, confusion, and cancellations. While there is still much that is unknown one thing seems pretty safe to say: for the majority of us, the coronavirus situation will be placing a massively inconvenient wrench into a decent chunk of our 2020 plans: especially if those plans include a gathering of more than a few people, or you plan to be within 6 or so feet from each other.

The new restrictions on movement and social events/gathering obviously takes an incredible toll on the sport of OCR and its athletes. In a world where we are accustomed to crawling under barbed wire just inches above the ground, or fully submerging in Dunk Wall water (with a few thousand strangers), we suddenly find ourselves in a reality where not even signing our life away on the Spartan Race Death Waiver can get us back into that muddy water.

Out of the void where scheduled races and fun events with our gym buddies used to be comes a new kind of panic for the obstacle course race athlete: not only are all races cancelled for the foreseeable future...but the gyms are also closed; and the mere thought of convening in groups to exercise is frowned upon. Without the accountability of gym buddies, or the structure of a trusted training routine, or even an event to train for and look forward to...many athletes are struggling to maintain their momentum to exercise or their motivation to improve.

 

So the other day we published a new page on our site, called "Coronavirus Resources For OCR Athletes." It's pretty sweet and you should definitely take a look - but we wanted to be sure we gave special attention to options for athletes to challenge themselves in lieu of the OCR events they had been planning on: because while a solid training plan is an essential foundation, having an actual event to train for and look forward to can be a huge game-changer in keeping the momentum going! 

We did some internet digging to find events/companies/challenges we thought would appeal to the OCR athlete, and that's what you'll find in the rest of this article. Some are well-established virtual event brands with many options for events/distances/medals/ways to track your results/etc....and others are options that current OCR brands have decided to shift/extend into a virtual event in light of the current situation. There are a few other cool perks/features that vary from brand to brand - but each one caught our attention because they ALL look like fun ways to stay motivated, accountable, active, and connected!

PS: We added a few events to this list before officially publishing the article, so there are probably more than 13 on this list. But it sounded like a good number, so we kept it.


First Things First: Virtual Events By OCR Race Series

 

Bonefrog Challenge: In the "About" section of their site, one can find the following quote:

 

"BONEFROG was created by Navy SEALs to challenge, build and inspire participants to become better athletes and recognize that they can do anything they set their minds to, while enjoying the camaraderie and teamwork usually reserved for active duty Navy SEALs."

...And with a mission statement like that, it should come as no surprise that they'd adapt and react swiftly to the current situation. And they have: by offering a virtual event to keep us moving, inspired, and connected. There are 3 different levels participants can register for depending on the level of challenge you're looking for: and all are a mix of body weight exercises, carries, and running. (no gym equipment needed)

 

F.I.T. Challenge: The unconventional (and delightfully unapologetic) F.I.T. Challenge has always been adamant that they prefer to see their event as a "challenge" more than a "race," and they are definitely staying true to form with this event.

For $25 they will send you a customized "virtual swag pack" with a medal, head buff, F.I.T. Challenge bracelet and temporary tattoo, and a F.I.T. Challenge finisher shirt. In exchange, you need to complete a virtual challenge of your choosing: including a run that challenges you, a WOD you have to work hard to complete, or anything you can come up with: the sky is the limit!

"It could be ANYTHING! Something to get YOU moving, and to build some positive vibes during this crazy time!"

The medals and swag are extras leftover from previous events, but honestly the quality of the swag is legit making it well worth the price, and the random-ness of what you get kind of just adds to the appeal of that unconventional "F.I.T. Challenge charm" that we mentioned earlier.

 

Savage Race: Savage introduced their "Savage Anywhere" offering (#GETSAVAGEANYWHERE), comprised of 14 challenges over the course of 4 weeks, and 2 different skill levels to choose from.

The 4 weeks starts when you sign up, meaning you can start anytime! The workouts are a mix of strength/cardio conditioning with some running mixed in, and all were put together by top OCR athletes and professional trainers/coaches. 

One of the things we love about what Savage is doing - and a reason why we are huge proponents of supporting them - is because not only did they put an awesome program together: but they're actually making the full details of the challenges free to anyone who wants to participate. This is a fantastically generous offer on their part, considering the value of the workouts, and makes us want to show our appreciation and support them during this time of financial crisis.

And they give us a way to do that: In the introduction video on their site, owner Sam Abbitt explains that the workouts are all available for free...but for $35, athletes will receive additional perks: your completion will count toward a Savage Syndicate, you will receive a 2020 finisher shirt and medal in the mail, and you will know that you did something meaningful to help out an OCR company - during a time when they need your support most.

 

Viking Obstacle Race: Viking Race really steps up for OCR athletes: by making all of their 2020 events available to complete in a virtual format. Participation in different combinations of 5ks and/or 10ks earns participants different medals and swag (including a Viking Obstacle Race Junkbrand headband)...so it's up to you how far you want to take it.

Viking Obstacle Race virtual event 2020
Participants must join the "Viking Obstacle Race Followers" group on Strava to enter their results, and they will also be able to compare results with other challenge athletes!

 

COVID-19 Pandemic Challenge: In response to a desperate call from hospitals for face mask donations, Thirty7s Custom Apparel organized a virtual 3-mile run (with some fun "extra" exercises added in, to make it more like an OCR!). Participants receive a custom patch instead of a medal, but it's a pretty cool patch...and all the proceeds from the event go toward fundraising for the relief efforts, so we are good with that :)

 

Traditional Virtual Event Series

Virtual Run Events: All events by Virtual Run Events donate a portion of the proceeds to a good cause, which is pretty cool. And each event benefits a different charity: making the process of selecting which event(s) to complete a fun experience in itself. Participants submit their race results (using the honor system), and they are added to the database of finisher times on the site.

One of their events, "The Great Toilet Paper Chase" (medal image shown above) is donating at least 30% of the profits to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund through the World Health Organization. They are also running a killer sale right now: use code DAY38 to save 38% on all races and merchandise, good until March 31, 2020!

Virtual Pace Series: The Virtual Pace Series also donates a portion of their profits to charity, and welcomes participants from over 60 countries. Events range in distance from 5k to a full marathon, and results are also reported by participants using the honor system.

One event that stands out in particular is their "Runner Habits 21/21" event: especially for those who may be struggling to keep up with their fitness goals or maintain the structure of a training program. To complete this challenge the participant needs to run at least one mile every day for 21 days: because that is the length of time it is said we need to be able to form a new healthy habit.

Even if you are an athlete who typically completes much more than one mile during a typical run: if you are currently struggling to stick to a schedule or trying to "re-learn" how to run without your usual running group/treadmill/etc., then this might be the perfect challenge to help you regain your confidence!

Virtual Strides: This organization has contributed over half a million dollars to various different charities, including: National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, and the veteran-founded, 100% volunteer Operation Enduring Warrior (pictured below).

The site says that some of the inspiration for which charities they choose comes directly from their participants: so if there's a good cause you feel passionate about, give them a shout!

Gone For A Run: Along with the standard silly/offbeat themed events that virtual races are famous for, Gone For A Run has a unique offering called the "Virtual Training And Race Challenge Series." Participants register for their preferred event length (5k, 10k, half marathon, or full marathon), and each event also includes a training program created by a coach at Gone For A Run. Within the training program participants have access to customized programming, can watch training videos and download guides, and they can join a private Facebook Group for exclusive access to the coach to ask questions and get feedback.

When we saw this we were like "woah." and we knew we had to share it with you. Because there comes a time when it doesn't really matter how bitter you may or may not feel about whether some of your OCR races fell through: because when you see that you can complete a comprehensive marathon training program...with direct access to the coach...and then complete the race itself too (along with the medal, of course) - and it's all only $40??

Dude. That is a good deal and that will definitely help you in your OCR race prep.

Virtual Run Challenge: The Virtual Run Challenge has a few events we think will appeal to the OCR athlete: the Earth Day Virtual Challenge runs through the entire month of April, and encourages as many participants as possible to join, to see how many times they can collectively run the distance of the Equator: all 24,901 miles of it.

The 2020 CoronaBusters Virtual 19k feels like it was created just for us...because it was! Virtual Run Challenge put it together in response to all the events that have been cancelled recently, by inviting us to participate in one of the largest "social distance runs" in 2020. Seems like a stellar opportunity to take back some of our power, and prove once and for all: social distance might leave us feeling isolated, but we are not alone!

The medal also glows in the dark so...yeah.

Use code FIERCE10 at checkout for 10% off any Virtual Run Challenge event!

Yes.Fit: Athletes who like to track data will enjoy this social networking app/race series: the Yes.Fit app is compatible with many brands of fitness tracker (and the app also has a fitness tracker built-in), so participants can keep track of/record their progress as they get closer to the Finish Line.

Another notable feature of Yes.Fit is the distances of the challenges themselves. Instead of being a standard race distance (e.g., 5k, 10k), the distance of many Yes.Fit challenges is theme-based (for example: the "Alaska's Seward Highway" challenge is 116.1 miles, because that is the distance of the Seward Highway). In fact only a few of the challenges are shorter than 19 miles, making this series distinct from all the others up to this point.

It is also more "social" in nature: in addition to paying for each race/challenge separately there are 2 (very reasonably-priced) membership options, which grant the member access to select additional perks.

Use code FIRSTRACE at checkout for $5 off any Yes.Fit event!

 

Level Up: Let's Take This One Step Further (No Pun Intended)

The Conqueror Events: The "Conqueror Virtual Fitness Challenges" series is similar to Yes.Fit in that it is also an app/social platform allowing participants to track their progress over long distances and virtually connect/race with other athletes.


..But with one additional twist: The Conqueror Events has a sister brand called "My Virtual Mission" that allows participants to actually map and track their own course from Start to Finish, anywhere in the world! As the participant exercises (in whatever format they choose) the app follows along and plots their progress along the route they created. Participants can even invite others to join them for the course they created: making us feel like this could be the perfect option to substitute for some of our postponed OCR events.

The only potential drawback? No medal. But it's free, and could still be an excellent motivator for training!

Ironman Virtual Races (coming soon!): As of the time of this writing the Ironman Virtual offering has not been released. However it will undoubtedly be a quality product and appeal to some of the more competitive (and data-driven) OCR athletes among us, and so it definitely needs a spot on this list!

On March 20 The Ironman Group announced an April 1st launch of several virtual races as well as a virtual training app: both of which have been in the works for some time, but are launching on an accelerated schedule in response to the current coronavirus situation.

The new digital platform (dubbed the "Ironman Virtual Club") will be free to download and provide weekly challenges anyone can participate in, tracking participants' data via wearable technology. The Ironman VR Races will have some kind of registration fee and vary in format (so that not every event will require a smart trainer or a treadmill), but many details are still TBD.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, we know that nothing can replace the "real thing." But there are a lot of cool and creative alternatives out there, and we are psyched to jump right in and explore!

Which one(s) do you want to try...and which one will you sign up for first?? We can't wait to see what 2020 brings, and some of the sweet bling that you all earn.

 

PS: Be sure to check out our main page of Coronavirus Resources For OCR Athletes, for other great ideas/resources/links to keep you going strong even during social distancing!


 

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