Two weeks ago, Edward and I celebrated Star Wars Day by running the ‘With You May the 4th Be’ virtual race. We signed up a month prior after I saw an advert for it on my Facebook feed – it was an easy decision: Edward is a Star Wars fan and I’m always happy to add medals to my slowly growing ‘race bling’ collection!
So, what is a virtual race? It’s simply a race with no physical start line: you run the chosen distance in your own time, wherever you like, and upload your stats to the organisation’s website to receive your medal. Strangely, Virtual Pace Race sent us our medals nearly a week before the ‘official’ race day…
Since I felt a bit nervous due to recent (and ongoing) running struggles – it was my first 10K since the London Winter Run in February – we opted for an easy path along the River Witham. It was a weekday so we decide to run straight after work. We met at my office, changed and headed out toward the Brayford area and the river.
We were about 2K in when we stumbled upon a public footpath and deviated from our route to hit the trails. Despite being breathless a few minutes earlier on the road, I felt strong on the trail. Maybe I was just too busy admiring the view/marvelling at the nesting swans/trying not to break an ankle to focus on my troublesome lungs!
After 4K on this lovely public footpath, we ended up near the golf course and stopped for a few seconds to admire the golfers before continuing onto the river path to our planned route. We were heading back to the city centre and had barely hit 7K when I first felt the blisters… Maybe wearing the brand new, yet to be broken in Brooks trainers was not the best of ideas after all!
I powered through and sighted of relief when I finally saw my office building in the distance… Until RunKeeper announced that we had run only 8.5K and had to keep going for another mile. That last stretch seemed like the longest part of the run – not because of the pain, but because we had to take a never-ending stream of twists and turns around the city streets and alleys to complete the distance.
It was, overall, a very pleasant experience. I still prefer the atmosphere and excitement of a ‘real’ race, but I’d certainly take part in a virtual one again. It’s a nice way to train for an actual race or to simply set yourself a challenge. And as Edward said, it earned us the coolest medal in the galaxy!