Introducting The Smurfs Fit Virtual Challenges DETAILS

Virtual Running: A Beginners Guide


Start Your First Virtual Run

You know when you discover something amazing and you can’t wait to share it with your friends or family?

You feel a surge of excitement in your chest. It’s become your go-to. You can’t wait to do it again. You even look for any opportunity to talk about it so much that the people you love get annoyed everytime you bring it up... or maybe they get hooked, too.

We know how that is, which is why we’re excited to introduce you to your next addiction: Virtual Running.

It’s fun, makes you feel good, and gives you the freedom to craft a 5k, 10k or any other race you can think of anywhere, anytime. Once you try it, you’ll never want to go back to normal in-person races.

What is Virtual Running?

“Virtual running? How is that even possible?”

We’ve heard that from nearly everyone, which is entirely understandable. How can you run a 5k or half marathon virtually? It’s easier and more freeing than you think.

Virtual runs or virtual races are races that can be completed from anywhere in the world. Whether you walk or run doesn’t matter, and neither does your skill level. If you’re looking to get in shape, want to up your game with new challenges, or are just looking for something fun, virtual races give you the opportunity to nail your goal, receive a medal for all your hard work, and give back to charity!

These virtual races also give you the unique opportunity to count other activities toward your running goal, such as walking, jogging, running, treadmills, ellipticals or a stairmaster. If it can be measured and you’re moving your feet, it all adds up to your success!

Who is Virtual Running for?

Virtual races are for everyone, so if you’re 4 or 84, it doesn’t matter. If you want to take on the challenge, then age is never a factor.
Skill levels don’t matter either. Walking, jogging, running - there are no restrictions when it comes to where you are in your running journey, which gives you the freedom to go with what feels comfortable or challenge your limits.

The Virtual Run Challenge is a community for people, like you, to join together, share their passion for movement, and inspire change. Not only will you raise money in a unique way and bring awareness to an important cause, but you’ll also become a part of an amazing group of people who are motivated and excited to make a difference, while getting fit and sharing fantastic experiences!

Types of Virtual Runs

As virtual races grow more popular, the types are expanding, but a few common races include:

Charity Virtual Runs

Virtual races often give a portion of the proceeds to a charity, like some of those listed above, and here at the Virtual Run Challenge, we love to give to charity. Most of our races and challenges do benefit some charity, such as policemen, firefighters, cancer, or animals, so if there’s a cause that’s close to your heart, we’ll probably have one that fits you.

Virtual 5k Races

How does a virtual 5k run differ from a regular 5k race? Simple: You pick the time and place for your event, plus you can go as fast or slow as you want. It’s a 5k on your terms, which is probably why it’s one of the most popular events, and it’s a great starting place for newer runners.

Virtual 10k Races

Much like the 5k, you have all the control with a 10k virtual run, but double the distance. This race is perfect for runners who have already completed a 5k and want to move on to the next level, or anyone looking for a bigger challenge.

Virtual Half Marathon Runs

This is the second most popular races we have! Half marathons give those who have completed a 5k or a 10k the chance to level-up. This challenge is 13.1 miles or 21 kilometers.

Challenge Run Events

These events are unlike the traditional races with a variety of distances and topics, such as the Earth Day Challenge, which is when runners around the world try to collectively run the circumference of the planet. Challenges provide a unique twist on races and a fun, community-style event with people from all over.

Virtual Runs with Medals

Most races give you a prize for your hard work in the form of a medal. These medals are Official Virtual Run Challenge Finisher Medals, which give you unique keepsakes that last forever and commemorate accomplishing your important goal.

Virtual Running vs In-Person Events

Why do people like virtual running, instead of regular races? Everyone’s different, which means fitness and fun requires flexibility. Virtual running gives you that. Some of the top reasons for virtual races are:


Virtual races are flexible, which means you can set goals for yourself and earn a medal in the end.

Our Runs Benefit Charity

Most of the virtual events are attached to a specific charity, which means a percentage of your registration gets donated to the foundation. Not only do you get to give back, but by completing these virtual races you also bring more awareness to the charity’s mission. A few of our past virtual runs for charity include:

Catch a Life foundation, which honors veteran and/or current military members. It helps Iraq war veterans get gym memberships, and was part of our Home of the Brave Race in 2018.

ASPCA Animal Charity was part of our 2018 Year of the Dog Race, which was geared toward animal lovers who wanted to run with their dogs.

National Park Association received proceeds from our Earth Day Challenge, which was a virtual race by people all over the world who were attempting to collectively run the circumference of the Earth (24,901 miles).


A traditional race can be stressful with some serious competition, especially for new runners. Virtual races are for you and you alone, which means you pick the time, place and pace. You don’t have to worry about parking hassles, weather cancelation, cut-off times or anyone else, which gives you the freedom to enjoy your race.

You also get the chance to include other movement to count toward your goal, such as biking or swimming. These miles can count toward your overall goal with a simple formula change based on energy exertion. Look at your total activity miles and divide by the ratio give below:

Biking: 3 miles biking equals 1 mile running. (3:1 ratio)

Swimming: 1 mile swimming equals 3 miles running. (1:3 ratio)

Rollerblading: 3 miles rollerblading equals 1 mile running. (3:1 ratio)
Example: If you bike 15 miles, divide by 3 (3:1 ratio), which equals 5 total running miles.


Virtual running promotes a sense of togetherness and connection. These races allow you to get colleagues, family or friends together for fun challenges, to meet fitness goals or to foster teamwork. You might know someone in another race, which also gives you the opportunity to complete the races together and share wonderful memories for years to come. It’s a whole new experience for team building, too!


Prize-winning is always fantastic, and with virtual races with medals you get a finisher medal for your amazing accomplishment. These medals give you something to strive for and remember the race by, plus these medals are unlike any you will see for in-person races. (See medals article for more details.)

How to Get Started with Virtual Running

It’s simple: A good pair of shoes and the drive to get moving.

Sign up for Virtual Race

Find an event that inspires you. It’s best to find one that supports something that matters deeply to you, such as helping veterans or fighting cancer. A little extra motivation goes a long way!

Sign up for one of our current Virtual Run Events here.

Choose a Location

Virtual racing gives you the freedom to race from anywhere, whether it be a local track, the beach, a park or even the gym. Choose somewhere comfortable and exciting where you can go the distance.

Complete Your Race

It’s entirely up to you how you finish it. Walk, jog, run or even jump on the treadmill to get that distance in! Many races come in various distances, virtual 5k runs, virtual 10k runs, and virtual half marathon runs, and even if you choose a longer distance, most of these will allow you to break up the distances until you complete it. Talk about flexibility!

Submit Your Results

Once you finish your even, submit your results to the website. It’s all based on the honor system, however, some runners track their even with a wearable fitness tracker, such as Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin or any others.

Share Your Accomplishments

No, seriously. You deserve to shine and social media can be your flashlight. Use the hashtag #thevirtualrunchallenge (NOTE: You should link this to the hashtag on Instagram. Just a thought) to show off your win and bring awareness to this amazing opportunity. It will also give you a chance to connect with other virtual racers!

Collect Your Prize

Remember the medals we mentioned earlier? Well, not only do you get it sent to you, but you also get some fantastic race swag, such as t-shirts, racing bibs, dog tags and so much more.

Challenge accepted? If So, Check Our Current Virtual Races Here