Off the Beaten Path
“I put on all of my medals at once to bask in the glory of my collective achievements. I started from the bottom, now I’m here, as Drake would say.”
Ilove races because they bring every type of runner together, culminating in the thrill of race day finally arriving after months of training and preparation. Everything about a race is thrilling, from that quiet moment just before the start to the satisfaction of crossing the finish line.
For me, the best part of participating in a race – of any duration – is getting a medal upon completion. It’s not so much the bling itself that I’m after as it is the symbol of accomplishment, evidence that I did it. Taking home this token and displaying it proudly gives me satisfaction. The various medal displays offered to the running community surely indicate that I am not alone in this enjoyment, though I would be lying if I didn’t admit that, beyond display purposes, every now and again I get tempted to embrace the sentiment of the Drake lyric, “I wear every single chain, even when I’m in the house.” I put on all of my medals at once to bask in the glory of my collective achievements. I started from the bottom, now I’m here, as Drake would say.
It comes down to this: medals motivate me. They are my dangling carrot whenever I find myself in need of motivation to train and remind me of past glory whenever I question if I have what it takes to complete my next challenge. They are particularly special to me because I run my races with my wife and feel that they capture the essence of the adventures we share – the where, when and what of our special moments running together.
So, when I found myself in Edmonton this past April with a few hours to kill before hitting the hay in advance of a f light home, I could not help but fixate on an email from runDisney about their second virtual running shorts series – a series of three 5ks in consecutive months. I had not previously known about virtual races and was fascinated by the concept of running a race when, where and how it suited me – and reporting back based on the honour system.
Virtual races are not intended to replace the real deal, but offer a great motivation to train and run, with the incentive of a medal as the reward. While runDisney is known for their superb medals, they are not the only group offering virtual races. I recently came across the Hogwarts Running Club online, which also offers a series of races along with medals that will surely interest anyone fond of J.K. Rowling’s world of wizardry. Plus, their proceeds support charities, adding to a good cause and making you feel even better about participating.
Virtual races are inexpensive and f lexible. While they offer a window of time to run them, you need not be thwarted by bad weather, a minor injury or other life commitments. You can run them on your terms. While you do not have the group camaraderie of a real race, you can certainly run a virtual race in a group or with a partner, as I do with my wife – perhaps even arranging your own medal presentation “ceremony” when you cross the finish line.
Virtual races are perhaps the easiest for cheaters to manipulate, though doing so completely misses the point as you would only be cheating yourself. I am proud of my medals because I earned them and am motivated to participate in races for them. Virtual races offer the same type of motivation, but in the comfort of my own neighbourhood – even my treadmill, if need be.
If you ever are in need of a little extra motivation to train, consider signing up for a virtual race, and adding to your medal collection in the process.
Run Disney virtual race medals