The concept of hosting a virtual sporting is nothing new and has certainly been the only way for events organisers to remain present and for their followers to be engaged this year. For the most part I’ve opted to defer my entries to next year for two simple reasons. One, I actually want to attend and be a part of the atmosphere and two, the events organisers have likely invested the booking income so requesting a refund may put pressure on their survival. Personally, I’d like them to be around next year and for the future so I can apply to more of their challenges.
Recently I found myself signing up for the Maverick virtual 100KM race offering me the chance, for a nominal fee to virtually run around Chamonix and upon completion receive a medal and goodies. Seemed like a good idea. Until now the only challenge I had set myself was to run the Stour Valley Way so what better way to re-focus my effort?
The pre-race communications were clear, concise and I felt like I was actually about to embark and participate in the real thing. I paired up my Garmin watch so the distance tracking and logging were automatic, all I needed now was to get started. The 100KM would need to be completed within 8 days so when the first day arrived off I set to get the first 15 or so kilometres under my belt. Once that was done I thought to myself this should be pretty straightforward. Overnight the logged distance triggered emails from the organisers rewarding me of my progress and where I happened to be in the journey around Chamonix.
Digesting these emails over breakfast the next day I was ready for a second bash. And so this routine continued for day 3 too. But now I’d hit a problem, I wasn’t motivated to get out when I woke the following day. Running around the same area again? Just a clock up kilometres? Grumbling too that I can’t go until after work as I don’t have enough time before… Where the heck had my mojo gone? I did the 4th day knowing I had a rest day for 5th and used this to take stock of what was happening.
Of course, it was a simple explanation, I’d taken the fun out of the days by not planning and just assumed blasting around my frequently used routes would be sufficient. For days 6 and 7 I decided to drive a few miles from home to the fringe of where I typically reach on most local runs. From there I headed in to the countryside and explored new tracks and it was great! Great to be out, great to be somewhere new and still notching up the KMs too. So much so the last day I churned out the final 24KM I needed to close out with 101KM.
A days rest was all I needed to some clarity and to realise that even virtual events need planning, that in essence, I was the Race Director and the only person responsible for the success. Oddly, this was a steep learning curve and for me, a lesson well learned.
My next virtual event is a marathon in October and taking on board my experience from the past week I’ve already planned the route.