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Will We See a Rise of Virtual Runs?

With the COVID-19 virus being declared a pandemic and ‘social distancing’ becoming the new buzz word, many races and events are being cancelled as the day goes by.

Abbott World Major marathons will postpone their races to new dates: Boston in September and London in October. Every enthusiastic runner – in one way or another – would encounter race postponements or cancellations. Training has been on schedule, race preparations have been underway, but what will happen now?

What is a Virtual Run?

A virtual runs enables you to participate in a race of a predetermined distance and within a specific period of time. The race is typically tracked through any GPS-enabled devices or smartphone applications; think Garmin, Strava and the likes. While some runs are available free-of-charge, others have fees with medals, merchandise and other goodies thrown in.

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You can choose to run in any location near you, or even on a treadmill, depending on the rules of the virtual race. It is convenient, safe, time flexible and is relevant especially in today’s “social distancing” circumstances. Runners join virtual runs to keep themselves motivated to be active; there is a goal for them reach, and thus they would train and prepare themselves accordingly.

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Virtual runs are still at an infancy stage in Malaysia.  There have been a handful of virtual races to date, ranging from basic no-frills run to sophisticated ones with cash prizes to lure competitive runners.  As a comparison, Singapore is quite active in the virtual run scene. There are a few key players in the market, and sports brands also join the bandwagon to engage the active sports community.

With the virus not abating anytime soon, will we see a rise in virtual runs in the near future?