There are tons of fun virtual races with awesome medals and shirts you can run in 2021! So don’t let all those race cancellations stop you from training and earning a new medal. So, here’s a list of the Best Virtual Races with notes on the perks you get when you sign up. Plus tips on what to consider when choosing the best race for you. Let’s go!
Today we’re covering:
- What to consider before you register
- List of Virtual Races with medals
- Resources and Websites to find Virtual Races
What to consider when choosing a Virtual Race:
- Distance – Many races offer more than 1 distance as an option, but you have to choose when you register.
- Date – When do you have to complete the race by? Unlike traditional races where everyone runs on the same day, virtual races give you a window of time (often a week or more) to complete the distance.
- How you report your finishing time or prove that you finished. Some virtual races are on the honor system – so as soon as you sign up they send out your medal and shirt. Then, it’s up to you to get it done. Other Virtual Races require you to prove your finishing time by connecting to a tracking app or sharing a screenshot of your results or picture of your GPS watch after running.
- What’s included (Swag baby!) – Not all virtual races give you a medal, even less give you a t-shirt, so you have to check what’s included with the price of registration. If you want a medal (and/or shirt), be sure it’s offered and included with the price of entry. Virtual Race Swag can include things like: Medal, Shirt, Hat/Visor, Socks, Water bottle, Bag, Training Plan, Discounts, Access to their app and more.
- Cost – Virtual Races can sometimes cost just as much as in person events due to shipping / administration fees. Also, some events that were originally in person races had to switch to virtual due to Covid. So, they may still be paying a larger staff and recoup money lost to stay in business. Just because it’s a virtual race, doesn’t mean it’s low cost – check that it fits in your budget and if there are any extra fees (shipping, paying extra for a shirt, etc). Many races donate some proceeds to charity (what percentage and what charity varies widely). Finally, keep in mind most Virtual Races are non-refundable.
Note – some of these ‘Virtual Races’ are usually in person events, but due to Covid19 had to change to virtual only. So if you’ve already wanted to run a certain race but may never be able to travel to that location or run it otherwise, this might be your chance. (And it may not be a virtual race next year.)
Best Virtual Races of 2021 with Medals
- Gone for a Run Virtual Races – Probably one of the most popular virtual race organizations, they’ve offered several virtual races each month for years. So they’re very organized and the site looks the most professional compared to other virtual race websites. But these races often cost a little more.
- Race distances include 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon.
- Includes: Race Medal and Shirt*. All races include a medal, most include a shirt, the ones that don’t offer a shirt have something instead like a pair of socks, visor or headband.
- Cost: $26.99 – $39.99
- Medal Dash Virtual Races – 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon Virtual Races. They have a super fun race coming up – Godzilla versus Kong. You pick if you want to be on ‘Team Godzilla’ or ‘Team Kong’ – and you get the medal with your team choice! You choose your distance 5K/10K/13.1 miles, choose your team and if you want a shirt. Get more info on the Godzilla v Kong Virtual Race here.
- Includes: Medal and bib. You can add a t-shirt or tank top for extra.
- Cost: $35.75-52.75
- Virtual Run Events April 2021 Races – Site offers virtual races from 1 mile to 26.2 miles. Race registration includes a medal. Shirts and other swag are available for an additional fee [they’re sold on another site, so after you register for a race you can click a link to shop around].
- Includes: Race Medal (shirts are available separately)
- Cost: $25 – $55 [You can get a 15% discount when you sign up for their newsletter.]
- The Conqueror Challenges – Virtual Running Challenges where you can sign up to complete a set distance over a period of time. So, it’s not exactly like a race in that you don’t need to do the entire distance in one run – you can add up miles over time to finish the distance you signed up for.
- Includes: Tracking App (so they can see you’re doing the distance), Medal and Shirt for an extra fee.
- Cost: $35-$55 – Varies. The shirt is extra. Shipping is not included.
- The Virtual Run lists many different races with super fun medals for the 5K and 10K distance. As of right now the site lists half marathons and marathons – but doesn’t have any races listed for those distances.
- Virtual Run 10K Races – Several different race themes that include a medal and a shirt for an extra fee. Many of the races say they’re sold out of the shirts so double check if you want one.
- Cost: starts at $15.00
- Virtual Run 5K Races – Several different 5K race themes that come with a medal. One of them offers a t-shirt for an additional fee, but it’s sold out right now.
- Cost: starts at $15.00
- Kiss Me I’m a Runner 5K – via Gone for a Run Virtual Races
- Cost: $27-40
- Includes: Medal, Tee or Tank and printable race bib. You self report your race time (results) on their site so you can compare results with others.
- Run then Paddy Hard 5K – via Gone for a Run Virtual Races
- Cost: $36.99
- Includes: Medal, Tee and printable race bib. You self report your race time (results) on their site so you can compare results with others.
- Girl Power 5K, 10K, Half or Full Marathon – via Gone for a Run Virtual Race
- Cost: $32.99
- Includes: Medal, Socks OR Gaiter, printable race bib. [No shirt – you choose between a pair of socks or gaiter/headband instead. This makes it a little cheaper than the other races from this company.] You self report your race time (results) on their site so you can compare results with others.
- Yeti Ultra 24 Hour Challenge – Run or Walk 5.2 miles every 4 hours for 24 Hours ! That’s a total of 6 runs for a 50k
- Cost: $49
- Includes: Race medal and shirt. Plus bragging rights – this is a very unique challenge!
- Details – You must follow the challenge guidelines: Run or Walk 5.2 miles every 4 hours for 24 hours (you complete a 50K). Then, report back with your time on the website. You have until June 1st to beat your own time and update it. Registration closed April 30.
Virtual Races Organized by Local Organizations
Consider running a virtual race that’s organized by a local running store, club or race organization. Your usual local races may offer a virtual option this year. If you always run the annual Fourth of July 5K in your city (or something similar) – don’t assume it’s cancelled. Check to see if the race will be held virtually this year.
Doing a local race (even if it’s virtual) can really help smaller race and running companies hit hard financially by the pandemic. Many races also donate some of the proceeds to local charities – so those groups have taken a hit on donations as fundraising events were cancelled.
Keep in mind – small business sometimes don’t have the same technology resources as huge race organizations. So, their websites may not have all the updates.
How to Find a Virtual Race that’s Local or Small Business
- Community or city website(s) and publications
- Local running groups or running clubs
- Local running stores (go in and ask where applicable)
- Local race’s Instagram and Facebook pages
- Blogs and social media posts of runners local to your area
examples of in Person Races that are Virtual in April:
- Bend Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K Virtual Races – Run by April 18.
- Cost: Half Marathon $50 / 10K $45 / 5K $35
- Includes: Race Medal and shirt.
- Salt Lake City Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K Virtual Races – Run your own race between April 10-25
- Cost: Marathon $70 / Half Marathon $65 / 10K $45 / 5K $40 – plus extra fee if you need your race swag mailed to you.
- Includes: Shirt and Medal (site says ‘swag’ so it’s unclear if there’s any additional perks)
- Marine Corps Virtual Historic Half –May 2021 (not April but a well respected race that might be fun to do virtual)
- You get: participant shirt, finisher medal and commemorative 2021 bib will be mailed to the address participants provide during registration.
2021 Virtual Runs and Challenges
Rock N Roll Marathon – Virtual Race Club… so this isn’t a virtual race but you can do virtual run challenges to get swag.
Join the Rock N Roll Virtual Running Club for free. You sign up and connect your running app to get started. Then, you can earn points for your runs, races and challenges. Those points add up so you can win swag.
Run Disney Virtual Race Series – Run Disney organized several virtual races to replace all the in person runs that had to be cancelled.
They do offer a medal but I didn’t include them on the main list because = they’re ALL Sold Out. But, I’m keeping it on the list because the race medals are gorgeous and fun. I’ll update this list if any new virtual races are added!
The Boston Marathon will host a virtual race this year. The in person race is usually in April but has been pushed back to October. The number of runners for the in person event will be a smaller field than usual. Registration opens for the in person and virtual race at the end of the month. The virtual Boston Marathon will be for the 26.2 distance only.
More Resources and Information on Virtual Races:
- What is a Virtual Race and How Do You Run One?
- How to Train for a Virtual Race part 1 – Run Eat Repeat Podcast 123
- 7 Tips to Run Your Best Virtual Race part 2 – Run Eat Repeat Podcast 124
- List of in person Marathons & Half Marathons for 2021
If you’re a Race Director and have an update on your race that you’d like me to share – email [email protected]
Follow @RunEatRepeat on Instagram and let me know what races you’re doing this year!